A scheme to support local traders while supporting a much-loved beauty spot has been launched in Great Torrington.

As part of our Shop Local campaign we have been looking at the innovative ways communities are adapting to support local businesses during these difficult times.

Great Torrington Commons Conservators have launched the 365 Supporters group which sees members gain discounts and offers with participating local shops in return for a modest £2 per month subscription.

It means money will be raised to look after the town’s 365 acres of common land and its wildlife, which proves a popular destination, especially during coronavirus lockdown.

So far nine local shops have signed up and agreed to offer a discount to members, but there is huge potential for growth and it is hoped more traders will take advantage of the scheme to help generate more footfall.

Membership cards will be going out to supporters very soon and participating shops will have a window sticker.

Although non-essential shops are currently closed, many are still able to offer a click and collect service even during lockdown.

There is no up-front cost to business and it is up to them what benefits they offer to scheme members and are entitled to change them or withdraw from the scheme at any time.

Andrew Giles, vice chairman of the Commons Conservators, said the aim was to develop a lasting long term scheme as more people sign up.

It was inspired by a similar initiative at Hampstead Heath Commons near London, set up to prevent shoppers going to London or other large towns, which Mr Giles said happens with Torrington as people also travel to Bideford or Barnstaple.

He said: “We have about 9,000 people in Torrington but only about 600 of those shop in town.

“Torrington is so incredibly lucky to have the 365 acres of common land as an amenity for the town and it is an absolute gift to us all throughout the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Its nature on your doorstep.

“The Conservators are incredibly grateful to all supporters of the 365 group as every donation makes a huge difference.”

To sign your business up to the scheme or to become a 365 Supporter, email Andrew Giles at vicechair@torringtoncommons.org or call 07956 366390.

Or visit www.torringtoncommons.org to find out more.

If you have a story about how your town, organisation or business is working to support shop local during the pandemic, email newsdesk@northdevongazette.co.uk.