MORE than 100 businesses have joined forces to support a new campaign to transform North Shields into a community and business hub for the North East.

The North Shields Chamber of Trade and Commerce, which was established more than 100 years ago to support local businesses, has teamed with PR company RusbyMedia to promote what the town has to offer.

Frankie and Jake Rusby, who head up RusbyMedia and live in North Shields, hope to generate more awareness and excitement for the area – which spans across the NE29 and NE30 postcodes.

They have created a social media presence for the COC including a Facebook page and Twitter account #OneNorthShields, so that all local residents and businesses can share their local news and events and help to create a strong network across the area.

David Bavaird, chair of the Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: “We realised that we were missing an opportunity to increase engagement with the businesses in the town, not only with our members, but also the wider community.

“We decided to join forces with RusbyMedia, who are also based in North Shields, so that we can attract new members, and show off what this area has to offer.

“It is a very exciting time for us and a huge step for the chamber. We are delighted to be working with RusbyMedia as we build North Shields up as an attractive place to live and work.”

The #OneNorthShields campaign has already gathered more than 350 Twitter followers and 65 Facebook likes for the COC in the last two weeks, with interest growing daily.

#OneNorthShields includes networking with other businesses, creating events and alerting people to news in the area, with a view to developing relationships between businesses and encouraging more companies to move into the area.

Future plans include #OneNorthShields merchandise, a #OneNorthShields Twitter networking hour, events and community engagement.

Frankie Rusby, owner of RusbyMedia, said: “We created the hashtag #OneNorthShields as it really encompasses what the campaign is all about – bringing local people together to show just how fantastic this place is to live and work. We know that there is a real sense of pride and community here and feel so lucky that we are a part of it.

“North Shields is a huge area that spans so many different locations – from the Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate to Tynemouth Village, so there is so much on offer. We hope that by creating this campaign, it reignites people’s enthusiasm for the area and generates more awareness on what we have here.”

Businesses already involved include the Linskill Centre, The Beacon Centre, Meadow Well Connected, Kikis Kabin, YMCA North Tyneside, The Business Factory and the Old Low Light.

Dani Ruth, Events and Catering Co-ordinator at the Linskill Centre, said: “We at the Linskill Centre are very excited to be involved with the #OneNorthShields campaign because as a community centre our main objectives are to bring opportunities and to encourage growth within our local community.

“We hope the campaign will allow us to build relationships and connections with more like-minded people and organisations, ultimately enabling us to have a greater reach and benefit more people. It’s exciting for North Shields to be getting recognised as the vibrant, ambitious and warm place that we all know it is.”

The launch of #OneNorthShields comes after North Shields was recently chosen to be twinned with Welsh town Merthyr Tydfil, with a view to attracting more economic growth and employment.

Over the next 18 months both will develop a strong relationship and receive economic planning support, develop more commercial and social enterprise activity, as well as a form a twinning action plan.