LOCAL MP Alan Brown has shown his support for Small Business Saturday by visiting independent shops and businesses in Mauchline.

The Kilmarnock and Loudoun MP has previously shown support for the small businesses in his constituency during the event last year.

Now entering its fifth year, Small Business Saturday is the UK’s most successful small business campaign. It is a not-for-profit campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages everyone to support them. This year, the event will take place on December 2.

Mr Brown said: “I know how difficult it can be for independent shops and small businesses to compete in a market that is increasingly dominated by the big players and online shopping. However, I also know that buying from a locally owned business means the money is much more likely to stay in our community and benefit our local economy.

“That is why I want to take the opportunity to encourage the public to shop local whenever they can and to try and help ensure our local businesses prosper.

“Thank you to all the Mauchline business owners who took the time to meet with me and discuss areas where I could lend my support as their MP.

As the local MP I want to give my backing and support to the great work that small businesses deliver throughout the constituency. Indeed it is small businesses like these that are the lifeblood helping deliver strength and vitality into all our towns and villages – please give them your support whenever possible.”

During his tour of the town, Mr Brown visited:

KAYS CURLING – Founded in 1851 and still manufacturing in Ayrshire, Kays Curling has the exclusive rights to harvest granite from Ailsa Craig. The qualities that make Ailsa Craig Granite unique are some of the main reasons that Kays Curling’s curling stones are the preferred choice around the world.

They offer a range of services to the curling world including sales advice, technical and training support and a global repair and replacement facility.

MANY THANKS – Made in Scotland gift shop, art gallery and coffee shop with over 200 Scottish makers from fused glass candle holders to granite miniature curling stones. Many Thanks pride themselves in being a welcoming and friendly place for all to visit and feel uplifted by the time you leave.

The store will host a Christmas Shopping Open Night on Friday, December 1 from 7-9pm and a Crochet Class will start on Monday, December 4 from 6.30-8.30pm costing £15/person. Booking is required.

A Beaded Jewellery Making Class will also be held on Thursday, December 14 from 6.30-8.30pm costing £25/person. Booking is required.

CASTLE CAFÉ – Traditional family owned Italian sit-in or take away café. You will be sure of a warm welcome from Angleo and his team with a selection of home baking, paninis, filled rolls etc. Their speciality is Italian dairy homemade ice cream made with the same recipe as Angleo’s grandfather used in 1909.

JOHNSTONE ART – Housed in the iconic Burns Memorial Tower in Mauchline is the renowned Ayrshire artist Elaine Johnstone. Entry is free to the gallery with a wide selection of contemporary art on sale from various artists. As well as her own art, Elaine is also available for commissions. Visit www.johnstonartist.co.uk for further details.

MOSSGIEL FARM – Farming the land ploughed by a rather famous former tenant, Robert Burns, farmer Bryce Cunningham and his family are bringing natural, whole, Ayrshire foods back to the plates of our communities. Milk, cheese, ice-cream and eggs available.