IT is the latest weapon in the fight to save our town centres and get independent traders back on their feet.

A groundbreaking new website – – encouraging shoppers to buy local has been launched.

The website, thought to be the first of its kind in the country, is the result of a collaboration between Newsquest Hampshire, owners of the Daily Echo and its sister papers, and Hampshire County Council.

The site lists more than 6,000 independent businesses in 33 towns across the county, including phone numbers, web links, parking information and maps.

It also features events taking place across Hampshire.

The launch, held at the White Horse Hotel, followed on from Newsquest’s successful Buy Local, Shop Local campaign supporting Hampshire’s independent traders.

That crusade was so successful it was praised in Parliament.

Dignitaries and guests gathered in Romsey yesterday to celebrate the launch of

Newsquest Hampshire managing director Stewart Dunn said: “The next step in the campaign is a new dynamic Internet site that puts the people of Hampshire directly in touch, online from the comfort of their own homes, with their local retailers throughout the county. It is a website that is wholly unique and is the first of its kind in the country.

“This project has been put together to answer a need for Hampshire residents to shop local with their independent retailers.”

Councillor Jonathan Glen, Hampshire County Council Cabinet member for economic prosperity, added: “It’s vital that we all support our local shops and independent retailers if we are to preserve the economic vitality of our town centres.”

Users of the website can search by town name or shop category – and it is free for businesses to sign up.

Businesses without a website will be able to create their own profile pages.

If you want to list your businesses on contact Natalie Sprake on 023 8042 4447.