FUNDING of more than £25,000 will help to promote businesses, attractions and events in Musselburgh as it recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The major community initiative has been launched by four local businesswomen – Sharon Brown, of Blueberry Gifts; Mhairri Duxburry, of Mint Fig; Terri Buzzeo, of Maison Macaron Home; and Jeanette Hamill, Hamill Decorating Services – alongside Melanie Roccio of the environment group Love Musselburgh, who will be working together for “the good of the town”.

The enterprise got off the ground after £14,300 was received from Musselburgh Area Partnership, £6,875 from East Lothian Council’s Covid-19 economic recovery support fund for towns and villages, and £5,000 from Scotland Loves Local – a national initiative designed to encourage all who live in Scotland to think local first and support their high streets safely and in line with public health guidelines.

The group plans to use the funding to promote Musselburgh in various ways under the banner ‘Love Musselburgh’.

Ms Brown explained: “Melanie has been using the Love Musselburgh tag for some time to promote community improvements.

“She has agreed to allow us to use the name for the project as she believes in the project and has been heavily involved. What she does will be included too.

“We will all be working together for the good of Musselburgh.”

The plans include: building a Musselburgh brand and logo; producing a Musselburgh website to promote businesses, attractions and events in the town; launching a Love Musselburgh Facebook page to complement the website; displaying Love Musselburgh banners around the town; and organising a Shop, Eat, Live Local leaflet to go to all EH21 postcodes once lockdown starts to ease.

The group is also looking into providing a loyalty card and voucher scheme to use in participating shops, cafes and businesses – more details will follow.

Ms Buzzeo said: “I got involved to connect more with the community I live and work in by helping to improve things.

“Musselburgh is a fantastic place to live and I want it to be the best it can be so I’m quite happy to pick up tools and help where I can.”

‘Excellent news’

Iain Clark, area partnership chairman, added: “The Musselburgh Area Partnership is delighted to be able to support the Musselburgh Business Partnership’s initiative Shop, Eat, Live Musselburgh.

“As we come out of lockdown due to the current pandemic, this initiative will not only help to make the town centre more attractive, it will encourage people to shop, eat and spend more locally.

“This will help to ensure the long-term sustainability of the town centre and by doing so provide more local employment for local people.”

Councillor Stuart Currie added: “This is excellent news and most welcome as we begin the long journey of recovery from the pandemic.

“I very much hope that more funding will become available in the weeks and months ahead to allow Musselburgh, and all of East Lothian, to recover and thrive.

“There are too many empty shops in the town and I have long held the view that the council can and should do more to promote business and jobs in East Lothian’s biggest town. I look forward to doing all I can to encourage and support initiatives likes this in any way possible.”

Fellow ward councillor Andy Forrest said: “I welcome this. Musselburgh has always had a pride in itself with the shopkeepers. With the lockdown, this is coming to the fore.”

He praised the work of the Love Musselburgh team, saying: “They are really committed and the fact that they have got money now to push initiatives such as the website can only do local businesses and Musselburgh the world of good.”

Ward councillor Katie Mackie added: “The economic recovery following the pandemic is going to be so important. This type of initiative will play a really important part in the recovery by helping to promote the town and local businesses. It’s really positive to see it being led by local businesses.”

And ward councillor John Williamson described the venture as a “very welcome and exciting initiative which will help to make Musselburgh a ‘go-to destination’ not only for locals but hopefully visitors from outwith”.

He added: “There are so many Musselburgh-based businesses of all sorts and making them more widely known will encourage people to spend locally, thereby supporting local business and employment. There are so many good things happening at the moment which are improving our town and this latest initiative will do so much more to promote Musselburgh.”