A DIGITAL platform designed to promote the high street, independent businesses and shopping local is coming to Gillingham, thanks to a £30,000 cash boost.

ShopAppy.com is a site focussing on the town shopping experience, where small businesses can create their own online outlets and compete against bigger retail giants.

An “important step for the region’s recovery”, Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has now committed £30,000 to a new initiative in which businesses are granted free access to ShopAppy to trade online.

Following consultation with business community leaders across the county, five towns have signed up to take part initially, including Gillingham Chamber of Commerce and Sherborne Town Council.

“Delighted” with the roll out, Lorna Carver, director of Dorset LEP, said: “We have introduced a number of support initiatives in the last nine months and this is another important step for the region’s recovery, especially as it will benefit small businesses in some of the most rural areas of our county.

"There is no doubt that many small businesses have been severely impacted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and we hope that this new initiative will help these businesses to keep trading during the ongoing restrictions.”

Founder of ShopAppy Doctor Jackie Mulligan added: “We are very excited to see ShopAppy.com now across five towns in Dorset and really taking off across the rest of the UK.

“None of us want to see our High Streets disappearing, but the effects of lockdown and Covid-19 mean many people are now shopping online with huge, global retail giants, rather than supporting our much-loved local businesses.

“ShopAppy provides a fabulous local alternative and allows people to support their own communities more easily. It’s great news for member shops in lockdown who can still trade, and it’s also fantastic to know that local communities are rallying around to bring that vital spending closer to home.”

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