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Website providing lockdown lifeline for local businesses

Help: Tom Harries’ free listings site

A new website designed to support independent businesses in Edinburgh during lockdown is proving a huge success.

Edinburgh Lockdown Economy is the brainchild of city-based tech entrepreneur Tom Harries and features over 200 local businesses and their lockdown offers.

Since launching just over a week ago, the free listings site has attracted nearly 15,000 visitors, the soaring demand seeing it quickly established as the No. 1 local directory for lockdown offers and services.

The site features everything from activity packs for children and online fitness classes to live streamed pub quizzes and craft ale orders from local breweries.

The team behind the project hope that visitors will discover something on their doorstep that they didn’t know existed, providing businesses with much-needed revenues that could help them survive until the restrictions are lifted.

“My wife is a doctor at the Western Infirmary and I could see that local businesses were offering food and other support to help the front line staff cope,” said Mr Harries, a user experience (UX) design consultant who has worked with companies such as yell.com, Virgin Media Business and Lloyds Banking Group.

“I realised that many local businesses were at risk and could do with some support, too, so I built the site as a one-stop shop to show the public who was still in operation and what they could buy or access.

“Since we launched, the response from the community has been phenomenal. The variety of services still on offer was a shock to me so I’d encourage anyone to take a look and feel inspired.

“It is easy to feel a bit down whilst we’re stuck inside so I hope people find something here that cheers them up as well as supporting local businesses.”

New plan: Good Brothers wine bar

Good Brothers wine bar is one example of a local company rethinking its business model and using the Edinburgh Lockdown Economy to reach new audiences.

“The delivery box service is a collaboration between some incredible local suppliers,” said Good Brothers owner Graeme Sutherland.

“As a small independent business, we’re able to be agile in times like these and the delivery service was live within a few days of lockdown starting

“We’re starting to look at other opportunities to bring producers in and will continue to serve our local community in this way until we can open our doors again.”

There is no fee to be listed and business owners should get in touch here.

The Edinburgh Lockdown Economy initiative is supported by Vocal which launched the first version of their service in November 2018 but more recently launched apps for Apple and Android devices.

Vocal helps customers of local businesses share feedback directly to the managers and is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Entrepreneur Accelerator programme.



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