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The KCOM Christmas Market, which launches on Friday, 20 November, will provide a huge virtual shop window for East & North Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire businesses who are facing the challenge of coronavirus lockdowns at what should be their busiest time of year.

Any small or medium-sized independent business - from local breweries to delis, gift shops, chocolatiers and traders who would normally expect to be visiting Christmas markets at this time of year -  are welcome to take a ‘stall’ in the market, enabling them to showcase their wares to an audience of thousands and drive footfall towards their websites.

And to launch the market with a bang KCOM has committed to give its own employees an early Christmas present by giving each of them a gift from a number of the market traders.

Dale Raneberg, KCOM chief executive officer, said: “We know that times are incredibly challenging for many local businesses at the moment, especially with new lockdown measures in place, and that now should be one of the busiest times of year for many small traders as we get ever closer to Christmas.

“With the KCOM Christmas Market we wanted to support local businesses by giving them a platform where they could still reach their customers despite not being able to attend the usual festive events.

“And to help kickstart the market in style we’re giving more than 1,000 employees the chance to pick a present from one of a number of the traders. We think this is a great way to support the local economy and I hope other local businesses will consider doing the same.

“The market will provide a fantastic shop window for independent traders across our region, from Hull to East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, and will be a one-stop shop for shoppers looking for some great, locally produced, Christmas presents for their family and friends. It will enable people to shop local, which is more important than ever right now for the local economy, and to keep their spend within the region, supporting local jobs and livelihoods.

“Most importantly it’s completely free for any businesses who want to be a part of it. It won’t cost them a penny to take a stall and tell the world what you’ve got to offer.

“So if you are a local company who wants to reach a whole new audience online then register your details. You have absolutely nothing to lose and a potentially great festive season of sales to look forward to.”

Among the goodies on offer will be award-wining ales from Hull’s own Atom Brewery, some melt-in-the-mouth sweet treats from White Rabbit Chocolatiers and a range of luxurious ‘me-time’ bath bombs and balms from local farmer’s market regular Babylon Soaps.

One of the first local businesses to sign up to the market is Hull’s award-winning Atom Brewery.

A spokesman for Atom, said: “The challenges facing small businesses in Hull are becoming increasingly difficult. In the lead up to Christmas we’re delighted to have the opportunity to work with KCOM as they endeavour to showcase local businesses.

“This project will shine a light on the passion of local producers and allow their high quality produce to reach a wider audience.”

The KCOM Christmas Market website was created by local web design company Digital Click Solutions, which is based in Hessle.

The Christmas Market will also include features such as competitions and special offers and shed a spotlight on a trader of the week in the run up to 25 December.

To register your independent business to be part of KCOM’s free Christmas Market visit www.bettersourcedlocally.co.uk