MARKET traders in Keighley are being offered training to help them boost their online presence.

Bradford Council has recruited a marketing and communications consultant to ‘upskill’ the stallholders.

Catherine Simes will work with traders at Keighley Market Hall, in Low Street, and at other markets across the district – providing one-to-one coaching on improving digital and social media skills.

The initiative is designed to help market businesses ­– many of them hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic – to promote themselves and their services.

A council spokesman said: “The pandemic has highlighted the need for market traders to adapt their business model to provide additional services including home delivery, click and collect and cashless payments and develop an online platform.

“Our markets service is keen to support traders who want to be digitally prepared for the changing nature of retail and develop ways to increase their online marketing exposure.”

While many retailers have suffered due to decreasing footfall on the high street, others have adapted to the ‘new normal’ and have made their business more accessible to people online.

Mrs Simes – who has been contracted by the council for a year – is co-founder of the Bradford Street Market online platform, which boasts over 5,000 members.

It has helped independent businesses to showcase their products and services on Facebook.

Launched in April, it sees dozens of traders take to social media to sell food, arts and crafts and other goods.

It is run each Thursday – and a number of speciality markets have been held to coincide with events like Father’s Day and Eid.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, the council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, planning and transport, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Catherine to the markets team at a very exciting time for us.

“Bradford Street Market was a brilliant innovation that has provided a lifeline for many businesses during lockdown.

“Catherine has proved that she can go above and beyond to support local independents during what has been an extremely difficult trading period.

“It is a pleasure to introduce traders to someone who is loyal and passionate about the local economy and has experience of how an online presence can benefit small businesses.”