THOUSANDS of leaflets will be distributed to homes and schools urging shoppers not to forget Wanstead High Street this Christmas.

The Wanstead Business Partnership (WBP) is planning to deliver around 5,000 leaflets in the next few weeks asking people to buy their presents locally.

Rachel Root, chair of the WBP and owner of interiors retail shop the Orange Tree, said: “People often say they move to Wanstead for the local amenities and the village atmosphere but that will all disappear unless they support local business.

“This high street has been hit hard by Westfield and if people don’t support us we won’t be here.

“I think a lot of people don’t realise that by doing their Christmas shopping at big shopping centres they are actually endangering their village high street.

“We want to cover as much of the area as we can because we need to get that message across.”

As well as mail drops, Mrs Root says the WBP is planning to talk to local schools about distributing postcards promoting the high street for children to take home in their satchels.

And every shop on Wanstead High Street will be provided with a poster to display in their window reminding people to shop locally.

WBP treasurer Michele Redgrave, who owns the Images in Frames picture shop, said she hoped a Christmas market planned for the high street on December 2 would help boost trade.

And she said she would be speaking to local churches about holding Christmas carol recitals ouside the shops.

She added: “I understand why people might want to buy their electrical goods online and I know people like to visit Westfield.

“But I think some Wansteadians are forgetting about their local high street and being dragged in by the retail giants.

“You can get a lot of things here that you just can’t find anywhere else.

“Small businesses are at the heart of the community and that’s the message we want to sell with this campaign. This is not just about Christmas.”