There are 55,000 independent stores in the UK. Between them they generate a turnover of £13bn and employ more than 500,000 people - nearly 2% of the UK’s workforce. Many also play a huge part in their communities. On June 1, independent stores across the UK will be marking National Independents’ Day to celebrate that vital role. Here are just a few examples of the people who ensure the ‘My Shop Is Your Shop’ campaign to encourage shoppers to focus on the value of their local store in the community really means something. So join us in giving a big round of applause to:

Lorraine & Alan’s Grocers and Off Licence, Offerton, Stockport

The staff at Lorraine & Alan’s Grocers and Off Licence in Offerton, Stockport, have gone to new lengths of customer care with their home delivery service. The service was initially set up to help out the elderly and infirm in the neighbourhood with their shopping, but has become a lifeline for many other people in the local area.

As well as being available to deliver groceries seven days a week until late into the evening, owner Lorraine Mottershead and her two staff run an ad-hoc taxi service and provide home help and general advice. Lorraine says: “Our store is more like a drop-in centre than a convenience store.

“We may be the only outside contact some of these people have. It doesn’t hurt to help with small jobs around the house like putting curtains up or changing a light bulb.”

Lorraine has been trading for 15 years and has been a customer of Parfetts Cash & Carry throughout that time. Managing director Steve Parfett says: “A lot of what these retailers do for their local communities goes unnoticed, but without services like this many people would struggle to get by. Lorraine and her staff are a vital resource to all their customers and a credit to their community.”

Bellini’s, Ilkeston, Derbyshire

Peter Bellini’s father founded the forecourt store about 40 years ago. Twenty years ago, it moved to its current site and petrol pumps were added to the workshop and showroom. Bellini’s has recently been extended and includes a coffee bar, which offers about 30 different hot beverages, as well as sandwiches, salads, home-made soups, paninis, pasta dishes, cakes and pastries. An extensive wine range, said to contain the best Italian selection for miles around, has bottles ranging from £4 to £500. Peter Bellini, who has a diploma in wine, is on hand to advise customers and host wine tastings.

Ted Bennett, paperboy, Brookes News, Midsomer Norton

A 91-year-old man is staking his claim to be the oldest paperboy in Britain. Ted Bennett of Chilcompton, Somerset, began his career delivering newspapers in 1988. Following his retirement, he spotted an advertisement for a local shop requiring paperboys. It was a spur of the moment decision that has led to him becoming a local celebrity and an integral part of his community.

The usual hazards of the job are no problem for Ted. Having once been bitten by a dog, he is “more often nipped by the letterbox” and his only complaint is that “if a house has a name, it should also have a number to help me out!”

Ted has lived in Chilcompton since 1955. He is surprised at his fame in old age but attributes it to his commitment to the local community: “Many people move into the village but they don’t really choose to contribute to it. It’s a shame since I’m sure they have skills that we could all benefit from.”

His employer, Hillary Jones of Brookes News in Midsomer Norton, says: “Ted is quite amazing. He is known for being fast on his rounds and dedicated to the job. He has even covered for schoolboys who haven’t been able to make their round.”

Ted’s main wish is to get into The Guinness Book of Records. He applied last year and is still waiting for a reply. “I was 90 when I applied. I’m now 91 and I can’t imagine there are too many 91-year-old paperboys!”

The Dairy, Bootle, Merseyside

The Dairy is at the centre of a groundbreaking community project that has transformed the local area.

Owner Dave Powell founded the OK Community scheme five years ago in a bid to keep young people off the streets and put adults back into education and employment.

Today, he oversees a vast array of projects, all of which involve local residents raising funds for good causes within their community. These can vary from organising day trips out for children or pensioners to funding a sports coaching programme.

One of his most successful projects is the sports coaching project run with Sefton County Council and official sports bodies, which helps people learn skills that will put them back in the job market while running sporting schemes for children in the area.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Dave has now set himself the goal of raising funds to build a community centre. Dave says: “Everyone is committed to this cause, because once it is up and running there will be facilities to provide adult education courses such as first aid and IT programmes - all skills which can be put back into the community. The centre will become a real focal point for the whole community.

“My shop is at the heart of the neighbourhood. I interact with these people on a daily basis and know what is needed to maintain the community spirit that is very much alive and kicking here.”