INDEPENDENT shops and businesses in five North Yorkshire towns have been given a boost to help them compete with online retail giants.

New ShopAppy platforms have been launched for Selby, Pickering, Thirsk, Harrogate and Northallerton.

Thanks to York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub, the platform will be free for 12 months, providing a collective online shop window for each member town and village, encouraging customers to browse and visit, book, or buy with easy click and collect after hours and home delivery.

Founded by independent business champion, Dr Jackie Mulligan, and supported by VISA, it was created to give small independents an easy, effective way to operate.

ShopAppy can also help services, trades, B2B businesses, chefs, pop-ups, entertainers, and market stalls with bookings, click and collect, deliveries.

It can also host virtual events to support local artists and producers to secure wider engagement.

ShopAppy is established in 150 UK towns and growing rapidly.

Dr Mulligan said: “We are delighted to be working in North Yorkshire and to be partnering with York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub on the launch of these five platforms. With our recently-announced partnership with VISA helping us provide support to more small businesses across the UK, we are certain that this will provide a real and tangible benefit to local business and the community.”

Michaela Bell, from Throw a Dog a Bone in Selby who provides dog walking and dog day care, said: “ShopAppy is making it easier for people who find it difficult to get out and about with masks and social distancing. It’s a great way to support local businesses from the comfort of your own home!”

Andrew Raby, manager of the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, said: “We’re currently offering free subscriptions to for local businesses as we see it as a great platform.

"By having goods and services available online, businesses are giving themselves added resilience for the future.

"There’s plenty of technical support too, such as weekly online drop-in sessions, so setting up couldn’t be easier. We’re really pleased to see the launch of five North Yorkshire towns on the site, which will put some great local businesses in the spotlight.”

For more information and to sign up for ShopAppy visit