INDEPENDENT business are out to celebrate Small Business Saturday this weekend as the town is set to host lots of activities and free parking at council-operated car parks in the town centre.

The UK wide event, which takes place Saturday 4 December, aims to recognise small businesses and give them a pre-Christmas boost on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Basingstoke Gazette: Willows Coffee House, BasingstokeWillows Coffee House, Basingstoke

With many independent businesses to choose from in towns and villages across the borough, there is no doubt you will be able to find unique gifts to fill up your Christmas stockings.

If you are visiting Basingstoke’s town centre on that day, make sure you visit the Top of the Town to support small businesses and take part in festive activities throughout the day including mini wreath making workshops with Suzie Brown, family fun with Junk Jodie and carols from Basingstoke Gang Show at 2.30pm and 4pm.

Basingstoke Gazette: Tim, owner and baker at The Street BakeshopTim, owner and baker at The Street Bakeshop

Shoppers can take also advantage of free parking at council-operated car parks in the town centre for the whole day.

For those who would prefer to support the borough’s businesses in the comfort of their own home, shoppers can support over 50 local businesses who are selling their goods online here.

There are plenty of other opportunities to support local businesses on Thursday 9 and Friday 10 December as the Borough Basket Street Market returns with a Christmas twist from 11am to 7.30pm.

Leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Cllr Ken Rhatigan said: “Small businesses are at the heart of our economy and Small Business Saturday is a great way to shine a spotlight on them and give them a much-needed boost in the run up to Christmas. We are delighted to help them by offering everyone free parking in our car parks throughout the day.

“As well as supporting a fantastic range of businesses and smaller retailers across the borough and in our town centre, shoppers can look forward to a fantastic array of free activities and entertainment to get them into the festive spirit.”

Basingstoke Gazette: uHusband-and-wife team – Nitin and Anushree Patil from Spices and SpiritsuHusband-and-wife team – Nitin and Anushree Patil from Spices and Spirits

To find out more about free parking in council-operated town centre car parks on Small Business Saturday, visit here.

For more information on how you can support small independent businesses across the borough from the Love Basingstoke team, visit here.

Small Business Saturday is an American concept and is backed by the UK government, with a record £1.1 billion spent with small businesses on the day last year. The initiative is just one of the ways the council is supporting small businesses to succeed in Basingstoke.