Shoppers are being urged to find those perfect unique gifts in small, local businesses this Christmas.

Home to a fine selection of independent businesses, the city is taking part in the UK’s third annual Small Business Saturday which takes place on the first shopping Saturday in December – this year on Saturday 5th.

Nottingham City Council is working the Nottingham BID and other partners including Experience Nottinghamshire and the Creative Quarter to help promote the event.

An initiative that originated in the States where it was launched by American Express to raise the profile of small retailers, Small Business Saturday was introduced in the UK by Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna and has all-party support.

A national grass roots campaign to encourage people to shop locally and support small business – both on the day itself and throughout the year – it’s gaining in momentum.

Last year, 16.5 million people nationally shopped in a small independent business on Small Business Saturday, representing a 20% increase in footfall on 2013 or 2.7 million more shoppers.

For every £1 spent locally, £1.76 goes back into the local economy, according to research by The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

And to show their support for the initiative, Nottingham City Council is also offering on-street parking in the city centre for just 50p. To claim the offer, drivers just need to use the RingGo mobile phone payment system and the special code 18906 between 8am and 8pm on December 5.

Councillor Nick McDonald, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Jobs and Growth, said: “In Nottingham we have one of the highest number of independent retailers in the country behind Manchester and London.

“We welcome their diversity and innovation; they’re the backbone of our local economy and independent traders are what make shopping in Nottingham distinctive.

“We’re very keen to support Nottingham’s vibrant small businesses and urge all shoppers to explore what independent retailers have to offer while they’re Christmas shopping. The quality of service, along with the unique items you can find, makes for a great experience. Supporting Nottingham’s smaller businesses also helps create jobs for local people. ”

There will be plenty going on in Nottingham on the day, with shoppers able to buy from a hundreds of outlets – from award-winning delis and original gift stores to vintage clothing emporiums and boutique patisseries. Special activities to look out for across the city include:

A special Small Business Saturday- inspired Crafternoon with Debbie Bryan in the Lace Market, who is also one of this year’s featured businesses being showcased on the national campaign website. Revisit, Reclaim, Reuse is an upcyling-focused workshop. Drop in anytime between 11am and 3pm with a t-shirt of your own and find out how to turn it into an exquisite shopper, using hand embellishment, slow stitch work, appliqué and collage. It’s free.

Customers to the Made in Nottingham designer store on the upper floor of intu Broadmarsh can race on a Scalextric track for a small token. Following on from its success last year, Made in Nottingham brings together more than 20 established and start-up brands under one roof and has collaborated with the city’s “The Racing Room” to offer shoppers an interactive window display. Ask in-store for details on how to do a lap or two as a family or group.

Spend £50 on your stylish Christmas outfit at independent boutique Stick and Ribbon on Bridlesmith Gate and you’ll get a voucher for a free festive hot drink and mince pie at the White Rabbit Tea House.

A pop-up Christmas market with a difference in Cobden Chambers from 12noon to 5pm. Curated by 16-25 year olds from the area, FESTIV_ALT will be packed with market stalls selling unique and original gifts, as well as free live performances, projections, art and interactive activities.