What support is available?

The Indie Durham City project can offer a range of free support services to new and existing businesses with the City of Durham Parish.

Our aim

The Indie Durham City project can offer a range of free support services to help new and existing businesses within the City of Durham Parish Council area.

These are particularly focused on helping businesses build an effective online presence to market their services, with the aim of driving footfall to their premises.

By getting more local businesses more active online, we want to grow Durham’s reputation as a city that is well worth visiting for its interesting and distinctive independent shops – and a place that is welcoming and supportive of new small businesses that want to trade here.

Support for local businesses

Some of our specific areas of focus are listed below. We can tailor our support to the particular priorities and needs of each individual business.

To apply for support, just fill in the form here.

Digital marketing support

Google Business Profile: helping businesses set up their free Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) – to ensure that their shops appear on Google Maps, and that the business owners can access and update the information that Google displays to its users.

Marketing planning: working with retailers to assist them in developing and implementing a marketing plan.

Social media training: providing one-to-one training and support to retailers in either setting up and using social media for the first time, adding their businesses to additional social networks, or learning how to use social media more effectively – making sure that the right messages are delivered via the right channels at the right time.

Content and images: showing businesses how to create effective video, capture great photographs, or write engaging content for their website, social media, or the press.

Websites: providing support on how to create and maintain a simple website, including topics such as search engine optimisation, selling online, and the use of platforms and tools like WordPress and WooCommerce.

Roam Local app

We can help local businesses claim and use their listing on the Roam Local app, as featured in Durham BID‘s Life in Durham magazine.

Roam is like the high street in app form, with the aim to help visitors “become a local in every location”. Users can download the app for free, and discover shops and venues wherever they are. Meanwhile, bricks-and-mortar businesses can claim their listing, showcase what they offer – such as news, menus and exclusive deals – and ping push notifications direct to their followers.

Using Roam to promote your business usually costs £12.50/month +VAT, but businesses we work with via the Indie Durham City project can try three months free with no obligation.

Other retailing support

First-class kerb appeal at a shop in York. Photograph by Graham Soult
First-class kerb appeal at a shop in York

Drawing from our own knowledge, and examples of good practice that we have seen all over the country, we can offer free support and mentoring in other areas of retail, including:

Kerb appeal – making a positive first impression on every customer, to entice them through the front door.

Visual merchandising – presenting the shop and its products in a way that delights the customer and encourages sales.

Customer service – making sure that every customer leaves the shop with a great experience, so that they tell their friends, spread the word on the business’s behalf, and can’t wait to come back.

Finding premises

Indie Durham City helped match up restaurant Coarse with its premises in Reform Place
Indie Durham City helped match up restaurant Coarse with its premises in Reform Place

There are always existing businesses in Durham looking to relocate or expand – and new ones keen to trade in the city for the first time. Sometimes the hardest thing for a business looking for a shop unit is knowing where to start and who to talk to.

CannyInsights.com is well connected with shopping centres, landlords and agents in Durham city centre, so another part of the Indie Durham City project is about trying to connect those who have available property with those who want to occupy it.

If we have more occupied premises in Durham, and fewer empty shops, visitors and businesses all benefit.


The @IndieDurhamCity Facebook page
The @IndieDurhamCity Facebook page

We have set up our own @IndieDurhamCity accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as a place where we can share content by, and about, those businesses that we are supporting and mentoring.


Get a free three-month Durham Business Club membership with Indie Durham City

Every business we work with as part of the Indie Durham City project can now benefit from a free, no-obligation three-month Durham Business Club membership – and half price for the year thereafter (less than £2.50/week), if they choose to.

It’s a great way to help independent businesses further spread the word about what they offer, and link up with interesting and useful people across the region. Exciting things can happen when you introduce the right people to each other!