A business awards scheme is being launched to honour a town’s independent retailers.
Organisers say the initiative will recognise the importance of the sector and the value that traders bring to Ashton-under-Lyne in Tameside.
The Ashton Independent Business Awards are open to retailers across a range of categories, including fresh food, specialist jewellers, hair, health and beauty, clothing and footwear, cafés, restaurants and takeaways, home furnishings and homewares, furniture, and tech and electrical.
The awards have been established by the Ashton Town Team, a voluntary group which supports small businesses in the town centre.
Tameside law firm Bromleys Solicitors is supporting the scheme as the main awards sponsor.
Shoppers and businesses are invited to make nominations via a dedicated website. The closing date for entries is October 7.
Two special awards will be made, with the winners to be chosen by Bromleys and the Ashton Town Team.
Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, there will be no official awards ceremony.
Instead, the winners will be announced in October with presentations made to the victorious businesses individually.
Jan Lord, from Guide Bridge MOT & Service Centre, is chairing the judging panel which also includes Pauline Town, who supports the homeless and other charitable projects, Luke Mirfin from Tameside Markets and Jackie Moores, principal of Tameside College.
Jan said: “There are so many worthy businesses in the town, so I know our job isn’t going to be easy.
“Having been a winner in many awards myself over the years, I know what it means to a small business to be recognised for all their hard work.”
Bromleys partner Paul Westwell said: “Corporate social responsibility is very much part of our DNA and we are certainly on board when it comes to supporting local businesses getting the recognition there deserve.
“We are proud to be the main sponsor and wish everybody the best of luck.”
Councillor Bill Fairfoull, deputy leader of Tameside Council and deputy chair of the Ashton Town Team, said: “Over the past eight years, Ashton Town Team has worked hard to support the small businesses in our town centre.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity, with the support of Bromleys Solicitors, to recognise some of these valuable independent businesses.”
Pictured left to right are Paul Westwell, Amanda Breen of Wendy & Mandy’s Café, Councillor Bill Fairfoull, Luke Mirfin of Tameside Markets, and Val Unwin, of Decisions Clothing. Amanda and Val are independent traders and part of the Ashton Town Team.