TODAY we launch our Shop Local campaign to encourage shoppers to support Bolton’s high street.

With traders facing their toughest environment in five years, more than a dozen shops are closing each day across the UK.

Some cities and towns have performed better than others but the message is clear ­— use it or lose it.

Bolton town centre has come in for heavy criticism in recent years. While some of it has been deserved, it has also been harshly judged in other areas.

There have been major success stories, such as the revival of the Market Place shopping centre.

And while Crompton Place is in the early stages of a multi-million pound transformation, the £1 billion masterplan for the entire town centre is also starting to take shape.

Both of these projects are in the early stages but promise to deliver an exciting future for the town centre.

But key to this success is support from the people of Bolton.

Every pound they spend locally stays in the area, benefitting other parts of the economy and community.

Knowing that there are loyal and willing customers waiting to spend their money locally will attract businesses to the high street, who, in turn, will also spend money on goods and services in the town.

We need people to change their shopping habits and ensure that Bolton’s town centre thrives.