The Australian Lottery and Newsagents Association is celebrating the week in a new campaign, ‘community’.

The week aims to drive greater awareness and recognition of local newsagents, who as an industry employ more than 20,000 Australians across 4,000 independent and family owned news and lottery agents.

Recognition of the $6 billion industry’s contribution is particularly warranted this year, as the majority of stores have remained operational throughout the pandemic.

CEO of the ALAN Ben Kearney said many newsagents had found a ‘renewed impetus’ to serve communities during the challenging year.

“They have kept customers and the community informed and entertained in isolation, locally and nationally. We want to use National Newsagent Week to celebrate the phenomenal service our newsagents have delivered and continue to deliver, responding to the needs of many individuals and families impacted by COVID-19,” he said.

From stocking school and home office supplies during lockdown to craft activities, snacks, magazines and cards to help stay in touch with loved ones, they have proven an essential service for many.

“As shoppers are driven to stay confined in their local areas, newsagents have become the beating heart of the community, helping their local community to survive and thrive during the crisis. We invite all Australians to join us and our key partners to celebrate the significance of our local newsagents within our local community during the second annual National Newsagent Week.”

It’s a view shared by CEO of the Council of Small Business Australia (COSBA) Peter Strong, who said they are a great example of how small businesses have adapted during the pandemic.

“They’ve successfully managed to adapt to a constantly shifting landscape, and have shown resilience, strength, and tenacity in order to continue to support their local communities,” Mr Strong said.

“Small businesses do more than sell a product or service – they help to build local communities. Small businesses contribute to a third of our economic activity, keep millions of Australians in jobs and are responsible for paying wages to more than half of our workforce. They are vital to our everyday lives – especially now, as our country faces the long road to economic recovery. We can all support small businesses by choosing to go local first.”

Among the celebrations planned for the week and in keeping with the community theme, an in-store fundraising campaign jointly run by the ALNA, food charity Foodbank and media, marketing and printing company Ovato is encouraging customers to give back by donating the cost of a meal to help communities doing it tough.

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