Winchester Shops

High Street businesses offered personalised online support

A new programme of support has been launched by Winchester City Council, specifically for business on our high streets and neighbourhood shopping areas across the district. The support is being offered as part of the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, which was launched by the Government and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) last year.


Businesses from Alresford, Bishop’s Waltham, Denmead, Whiteley, Wickham and across the city of Winchester can now access advice from a team of business and COVID-19 business specialists until the end of March 2020.


This new service is being run by Digital Islands, an experienced provider of business support services, and will be free to all participating businesses.


Paula Ferguson, Winchester City Council’s Cabinet Member for the Local Economy, said:


The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenging trading conditions with three national lockdowns, increasing competition from internet sales and the closure of some national chains.  I am therefore very pleased that we are able to offer this targeted support service to businesses on all our high streets across the district. This new service will help businesses adapt and build resilience, and I hope, help them to come through the pandemic successfully.


Gavin McWhirter, Managing Director of Digital Islands, added:


We are passionate about helping local businesses overcome the challenges presented as a result of the pandemic. Our team will provide help, advice, expertise and training as practical support from commercially focused specialists.


Business owners need to register with the support platform to access this help, which they can do 24-hours a day at any time. More details can be found here: and the website will be available until the end of 2021.


The service includes an extensive programme of business webinars, workshops and training specifically designed for high street businesses. Registered businesses can also book a one to one session with a specialist business recovery adviser or a COVID-19 safety specialist.


The service also features weekly live drop-in sessions until March including several sessions on digital marketing, accessed via the same web platform. These “ask the expert” sessions can cover any topic that businesses want information on. Businesses are encouraged to make suggestions of the topics they need to know more about, and Digital Islands will then run an event with someone who can answer questions on that subject.

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