A SCHEME to boost trade in Christchurch is making rapid progress with offers of help from local businesses coming thick and fast.

The latest Totally Locally meeting, supported by the Christchurch Chamber of Trade and Commerce and Christchurch council, saw more traders get on board with the various initiatives proposed, including offers to encourage more footfall in the town centre.

Town champion, Cheryl Dennett said: “It looks like the Totally Locally Christchurch effect is really starting to happen and gain momentum.

“Everybody is being so helpful – both volunteering and making generous contributions.

“The Fiver Fest Offers are really starting to roll in now, which is marvellous news and our Hidden Gems scheme is also picking up.”

Hidden Gems is a section on the website with details about each independent store and pictures of owners and staff.

Appealing directly to local businesses, she added: “Our meetings only take about an hour so we won’t take up too much of your time if you do want to get involved.

“Please do come along and support this great campaign and be proud that you are doing something great for our town, it really is a lovely feeling.

“Please let me assure you, that even very little things amount to great things.”

Traders on roads in Fairmile and Purewell are also invited to get involved with the scheme.

The first Fiver Fest Fortnight will begin on Saturday April 20, with offers from around 15 businesses in and around Christchurch already available.

This will be the campaign’s official launch, after months of hard work by dedicated traders.

Totally Locally is a campaign which has been taken up by several towns across the UK, designed to encourage people to shop at independent shops in their town.

It is believed, if Christchurch residents spent just £5 a week in local shops, the boost to the town – to the value of £8.2million – could help ensure its survival.