A NEW platform has been launched to help local businesses on the high street, and is being piloted in Reading before going nationwide. 

LoLo is a local loyalty scheme that rewards shoppers for supporting local retailers, restaurants, and other businesses. 

The platform was created in response to the current local high street crisis. Several shops have closed down in Reading recently, like Burton and Dorothy Perkins, for example. 

Customers can download an app and receive free loyalty tokens worth £20 which they can use for discounts at several businesses. 

This is where you can get discounts in Reading - these businesses have signed up so far 

Andy Craig, of Whittingtons Tea Barge, said he was interested in the platform. He said: “It’s about raising awareness of all the local businesses. Recently the focus on local has disappeared, since [businesses started] going online.”

My Whittingtons said local businesses pay taxes which help fund ‘getting homeless people off the streets, filling potholes, or the schools in the local area’.

Ian Jones, co-founder and CEO of LoLo, said: “When we spend money with international online giants we send the money away from our community and add to the local decline.

“Supporting local businesses helps to keep the money circulating in our local community.” 

Anna Davies, from Therapists on the High Street, a sports therapy clinic in the Broad Street Mall, said one thing the clinic is concerned about is footfall, and having customers walk in rather than make appointments. 

Ms Davies said she was interested in LoLo because it would help with ‘building awareness of where we are’.

The platform is free for businesses to join and does not charge a monthly free, but rather a transaction fee of three per cent.

As well as in Reading, the app is also being piloted in High Wycombe, Bromley, Hackney and Wakefield. 

Mr Jones said: “The beauty of LoLo is that the more local businesses and customers that join, the more they will all benefit. 

“Each time a customer makes a purchase with a local business using their loyalty tokens, they receive more tokens back, that they can then spend again at the same business or redeem at another participating shop, mechanic, butcher or restaurant.”