A new project aimed at supporting small shops and online businesses in a County Durham village has been launched.

The ‘Sacriston Shops’ project will provide a platform to help promote local businesses, particularly those that are home-based and may not have a shop front.

Cllr Heather Liddle, who initiated the scheme, said: “Sacriston benefits from many home businesses but not everyone knows about them and they don’t benefit from footfall in the way traditional shops do.

“This will help raise awareness of these online retailers and encourage people to shop locally and provide a boost to our economy.”

The project, which is supported by Sacriston Community Development Group received funding from the neighbourhood budgets of Cllr Liddle and Cllr Simon Wilson through Chester-le-Street and District AAP and also covers the surrounding villages of Plawsworth, Kimblesworth, Nettlesworth and Edmondsley.

The scheme has enlisted the help of North East retail consultant Graham Soult from CannyInsights.com as a retail champion to help promote the area’s businesses and provide marketing training for local retailers.

“It’s a pleasure to be involved in running the Sacriston Shops project and to be helping the many fantastic businesses within the area spread the word about what they do,” he said.

“Beyond Sacriston, not many people seem to know what the village offers. However, there are some fantastic, long-established shops on the Front Street as well as new businesses opening here all the time.

“What is perhaps most exciting though is all the online and home-based businesses that exist – this is a really enterprising community and the project is about celebrating these and ensuring they have the digital skills needed to grow.”

As part of the project, businesses in Sacriston can take advantage of free, one-to-one social media training sessions with Graham to help them set up their own online business profiles and grow their digital skills and confidence.

To find out more, visit @sacristonshops on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, where people can also follow the latest news, updates and offers.

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