SWT is continuing to support businesses and traders through the Coronavirus pandemic to help ensure our local economy not only survives but thrives when restrictions are lifted.

One initiative that is already proving popular is the e-commerce platform ShopAppy which SWT has made available to local businesses free of charge for the first 12 months.

ShopAppy is an easy-to-use system that allows businesses to sell and showcase their goods and services online and provides a simple checkout for customers.

It’s ideal for people who are not able to pop to the high street or who prefer to shop online, giving them a chance to buy local. Orders can be home delivered, picked up from the shop, or from a collection point.

The hospitality and events sector, as well as community organisations, can also use the platform to take bookings or stage online activities, sales or virtual events.

I’d like to think it gives our local economy another way to improve sales and attract more customers in the changing marketplace and hope more local businesses will sign up and that residents will support them.

To sign up visit https://shopappy.com/vendor/

The council is busy working on guidance and a grant application process for the new national business grants being made available to support local businesses affected by the second national lockdown. They are the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) and the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).

I would encourage local businesses in the area who have had to close to keep checking the council’s website for further updates during the coming days.

You can find Somerset West and Taunton’s grant information online at www.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-and-information - click on the business advice drop down.