A TOWN'S independent traders are joining a national campaign urging people to shop locally as part of a scheme launching today.

Totally Locally Darlington, which was set up this year as part of a national scheme, is launching a two-week "fiver fest" to try and get people shopping in some of the town's independent shops.

More than a dozen businesses have signed up with a range of £5 offers, while a number of others have shown interest in getting involved.

Among the offers are £5 panto tickets at The Majestic, food offers and beauty treatments.

The initiative has been running for eight years, though this is the first time businesses in Darlington have taken part.

Stephen Morgan, who runs Totally Locally Darlington and owns Inner Tranquility in Neasham Road, said: "It's the first time we have run it in Darlington though its been around for a while.

"We've asked businesses to put on on some offers to encourage shoppers to spend money in the high street, rather than on the internet or in bigger chains.

"If everyone spent £5 in independent shops it could put £20.6m into the local economy and that could be a real boost."

Among the first to sign up in Darlington was Cornerstone Arts.

Director Louise Maddison said: "Fiver fest is now a big part of our promotions for Cornerstone Arts. The independent shops and businesses are what makes our town special and unique.

"We appreciate it when our community support us, so these offers are to say thank you for that support, and to show just what great value our local businesses are.

"We will be displaying a large amount of artwork available for purchase for just £5, with a great variety of pieces.”

The fiver fest launches today and offers will last two weeks.

It is one of the initiatives being looked at to try and support independent businesses through the pandemic.

Mr Morgan added: "Judging by the response I've had there are a lot of businesses who are unsure about whether they are going to be open.

"The feeling on the high street is that is is quiet and it is a lot quieter than it used to be.

"Businesses are worried. A lot are being forced to adapt how they run services."

Work is being done to give businesses IT support to allow them to move online, while efforts are also being made to set up a delivery network to support remote sales.

Mr Morgan said: "It's been a struggle for a lot of people, especially people who are not very tech savvy.

"A lot of people see the security risks and scams and are concerned about them but unfortunately we are in an age that unless you have a presence it's hard to survive.

"After the fiver fest we're going to be working on a delivery network around Darlington which we would like to have up and running before Christmas."

For a full list of participating businesses and their offers, visit www.darlo.biz.

Here are the businesses taking part:

  • Cornerstone Arts, Northgate:

Large range of artwork from local artists including Gemma Allen, Paul Wheeler, The Littlest Falcon, Ciel Creations, Miss Print, Drawn Threads, Jackie Tunnicliffe and more to follow

  • Inner Tranquility, Neasham Road:

20 Wax Pellets for £5 / Backflow Burners from £5 / Ongoing daily specials

  • Million Dollar Skin, Woodland Road:

£5 Express Facial

  • S & C Plants, Geneva Road:

Plants and Flowers for £5

  • Nautilus Dyes, Northgate:

£5 Tye Dye Deals

  • The Style Council, Whessoe Road:

Either a haircut, beard trim and line up or wet shave for £5

  • Angie's Diner, Market Trader - Market Square:

Double cheeseburger and chips for £5

  • Guru Boutique, Blackwellgate:

Directions Hair Dye £5

  • The Majestic Theatre, Bar and Events, Bondgate:

Christmas Panto Special £5 tickets

  • Sweet Treats, Market Trader - Market Square:

4 Nutella donuts and cappaccino

  • Darlo Radio, Northgate:

Darlo Radio Memorabilia - £5

  • Marvellous Miss Jenny, Clifton Road:

Mini adult Christmas Eve packages - £5

  • SG Percussion, Northgate:

Wide range of items for £5 at Cornerstone Arts