HOW many people will return to the high street as Britain emerges out of lockdown is still to be seen.

But today the Hampshire Chronicle declares its intention to help drive local commerce as it launches the Love Local Business campaign.

Over the years we have highlighted those who are doing well in local industry, those whose creativity has deserved special recognition and supported the many and various business awards.

We did it because we knew how vital a strong economy is to the wellbeing of the community in general.

Our Love Local Business campaign is intended to remind our readers and online audience about the many reasons there are to spend and shop local.

Executive director of Winchester BID, Paul Spencer, said: "Now, more than ever, it is important to support local businesses.

"This will help to protect local jobs and livelihoods and help Winchester to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19 as well as help to ensure that our city continues to be a great place to live, visit, study, work and do business."

Over forthcoming weeks we will highlight those who have struggled through the lockdown to keep their businesses going.

We’ll tell you about those who have re-invented their business to ensure they can deliver their services and we will recognise the real business heroes.

Regular readers will have seen this newspapers’ backing of the frontline workers in the NHS who have helped get the pandemic under control through our Support Our Guardian Angels Campaign.

Across the country the Journal together with our sister Newsquest titles have raised over £280,000 for our doctors and nurses in need.

Today we open up a second front in the war against Covid-19 in bringing our support to business. If you’ve got a story to tell then get in touch.

Email and put Love Local Business in the subject line.