Southwark has a quarter-million residents with 300 languages spoken, and still Bermondsey has a close-knit community.
Russell Dryden, chairman of the Blue Bermondsey Business Association, feels the area’s spirit is in part due to the borough’s long-established local retailers.
“The Blue has been the heart of Bermondsey for a long, long time,” he told the News. “There are nice, family businesses that are a part of local history. Everyone has bought flooring from Thorowgood, everyone gets buried with Albin & Sons…”
Russell is the man behind the Blue BID (Business Improvement District), a campaign to help the retailers in the area deal in an ever-changing retail environment.
The scheme helps local businesses with everything from setting up websites to helping with advertising. They have bigger plans for the area too, with loyalty card and neighbourhood watch projects in the works. “We want to support local retailers establish joined-up strategies that will help them progress,” said Russell. “The whole pattern of retail has changed and we need to help each other adapt.”
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