A PROJECT aimed at supporting small community shops and businesses expand their profile online has been launched.

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

Durham County Councillor 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.

As part of the project, businesses in Sacriston can take advantage of free, one-to-one social media training sessions with Mr Soult 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.