A virtual marketplace for local businesses is being launched to give people the opportunity to buy vouchers for their favourite Shrewsbury shops and business to help boost recovery after lockdown.

The new website, called Support Shrewsbury has been developed by Shrewsbury BID, supported by My Shrewsbury magazine to help businesses gain income during the coronavirus crisis.

Businesses are being urged to sign up by going to supportshrewsbury.co.uk and the site is due to go live to the public in the coming weeks.

The site will create a hub for local commerce online, inviting the public to get behind our shops, cafes and restaurants and other local businesses, by buying vouchers which can be redeemed after the lockdown.

Support Shrewsbury will also create a virtual business community for local business owners to share ideas and relevant information and to help each other throughout the crisis and beyond.

Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, said the platform was open to every business in Shrewsbury and that there was no cost to join the scheme.

“We have been working really hard with local firm The Web Orchard to get this up and running as quickly as possible because we know how much businesses are struggling right now,” he said.

“Some bars and restaurants have been providing delivery in recent weeks, and a lot of shops already have an online presence, but many businesses are clearly struggling after being ordered to close by the government.

“Support Shrewsbury is a way that people can support their favourite shops in one place, either by visiting their online shops, or by purchasing gift cards to spend when the town centre opens again.

“It’s a great way for people to buy gifts for friends and family, while supporting town centre traders at a time when they really need it.

“Before the website is open to the public, it’s vital that as many businesses as possible get involved – the more choice for customers, the more successful it will be, so I would urge everyone to visit supportshrewsbury.co.uk to register their details.

“There is no cost for businesses to join and payments for gift vouchers and products sold through the website will go directly to the businesses using secure Stripe payment system.”

Katy Rink, editor of My Shrewsbury magazine, said: “Now more than ever is a time for creative inspiration, collaboration and new ways of working. Support Shrewsbury will be a virtual space for us all to pull together, so we can help everyone through this and restore Shrewsbury back to its wonderfully vibrant self!”

Pete White, owner of Information Solutions & The Web Orchard, said: “We’ve been thrilled to be involved in some of the more technical aspects of the project around payments and voucher delivery. It’s a difficult time for all businesses in the town and any impact we can have in supporting them is a priority for us.”

Support Shrewsbury is a partnership project by Shrewsbury BID and My Shrewsbury magazine and is supported by Shrewsbury Town Council, Shropshire Council and University Centre Shrewsbury.