PEOPLE are being urged to shop locally as one North East town signs up to a new initiative to boost trade.

Stockton's independent traders are the latest to take advantage of the Totally Locally scheme which aims to bring millions of extra spending into the town's economy.

Many of the shops, businesses and stalls will have special offers highlighting the scheme's message that if everyone in Stockton spent just £5 a week in local independent shops, it would bring an extra £37.8 million.

Local organiser Richard Brake, who runs Drake the Bookshop, said: “This is a chance for locals to discover your town's great shops and businesses, and the real difference they make to our town. Due to the proposed and recent closures of some of the big chain stores, many of the business owners and residents of Stockton feel that perhaps a different perspective is required.

"There are plenty of initiatives that are in place to help improve the town centre and we thought by getting involved with Totally Locally we could do our own small bit. It is very early in the process but Totally Locally Stockton wants to celebrate all local businesses, from gift shops to clothes shops, from wool shops to hairdressers. These small businesses support many other local businesses, which keep the local economy alive. It’s what the whole fabric of a town like this is built on. The stronger the local economy, the better it is for the whole town."

Totally Locally was created in West Yorkshire, in the UK in 2009 by brand expert Chris Sands for his home region of Calderdale. It has seen successes in towns like Hebden Bridge, Scarborough, Belper, Crickhowell , many who have gone on to win awards as "independent" thriving towns.

"Totally Locally isn’t anti-supermarket or anti-internet," he said. “There is a place for all these things in our lives. It’s just highlighting how a small change in spending habits can make a huge change to Stockton. We have a choice to make the place we live that little bit better by just diverting £5 of our weekly spend back into our local economy."