SKIPTON shops and businesses are being urged to sign up to a free downloadable app designed to encourage people to stay, shop and spend in the town.

The partnership between Skipton Business Improvement District (BID) and award winning mobile application (app) LoyalFree, is aimed at helping to support the town’s economic recovery, post the coronavirus pandemic, by boosting the number of people visiting and spending in the town.

LoyalFree is a new way of promoting in an easy, accessible and mobile way, vital area information for both residents and visitors. It is already proving a success in other towns across the country, including Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, and Eastleigh in Hampshire.

The app, designed to be downloaded onto mobile devices, such as a phone, tablet or watch, features a guide to the area, trails around the town, taking in the Leeds and Liverpool canal towpath and Skipton Woods, and digital loyalty guides. Those using the app will be able to take up exclusive deals and find out about events taking place in the town.

Sarah Howsen, Skipton BID manager, said “It is fantastic Skipton is joining the Loyal Free partnership after its success across the country. It has been a difficult couple of years, and this is a free, simple solution to help businesses connect with new customers.”

Andrew Mear, BID chair, added: “ We are encouraging all our BID members to sign up and provide their offers to inspire people to shop local.

“The trails we have already developed will motivate visitors and residents to explore areas of the town they haven’t previously visited and benefit our vast array of retail and hospitality business which Skipton is proud to be home to.”

Back in 2009 businesses voted for a BID to be set up in Skipton and re-voted for it to continue in 2014 and again in 2019. Since then, the BID has invested in supporting the vibrancy and vitality of the town, continuing its efforts with the integration of the LoyalFree app. Businesses will once again vote to decide whether the BID will continue for a further five years in 2024.

BID says its members will now benefit from advertising opportunities, customer insights and social media support. Businesses that have already signed up include Oakleys Grill and Pizzeria, Albert Street; and The Flip Side Crepes, Swadford Street.

It says LoyalFree’s digital trails are a way that app users can explore the town’s history, hidden gems and best independent retailers.

So far, trails include one on live entertainment venues, a Skipton ‘coffee guide’ and a ‘canal quarter trail’ where app users can explore Skipton’s community of independent shops, businesses, cafes, restaurants and pubs.

More trails will be added in the coming weeks, plus interactive experiences in the town.

Sophie Hainsworth, co-founder of LoyalFree, said: ‘‘We are very happy to be working with Skipton BID to encourage residents and visitors to explore the town and be able to offer local businesses a way to expand their digital presence.’’

Those downloading the app before the end of May will be in with a chance of winning a £40 selection of cakes and own blend coffee from Ellie Warburton’s in Otley Street.

You can download the LoyalFree app for free here: or search ‘LoyalFree’ on the iOS and Google play store.

BID levy payers in Skipton should email for details of how they can get involved.