Opportunity beckons to bring heart and SOLE of East Lothian communities into spotlight

Three members of the SOLE Community Engagement team - from left to right Margo Appleby, Dawn Alexander and Emma Luna Borrás, at Cockenzie House and Gardens, East Lothian

EAST Lothian has become the first area in Scotland to deploy an innovative platform designed to invigorate and stimulate the county’s local economy through a web site and downloadable mobile app, described as a ‘single point of discovery’ for all that East Lothian offers.

The project – SOLE – Supporting Our Local Economy – is a focal community platform created by the Scottish Tech Army (STA), a 2000-strong community of passionate volunteers providing technology solutions to the benefit of people and communities in Scotland. 

The STA’s deployment of SOLE in East Lothian is supported by the UK Government’s UK Community Renewal Fund and East Lothian Council and will inject further impetus to help East Lothian’s post pandemic business recovery. 

Available as a downloadable mobile app or via a web-enabled platform, SOLE is designed to empower all East Lothian residents to ‘think, act and shop local’. The app has been created and designed as a single digital point of discovery that allows people across the county to access local shops and other services such as booking activities or events, find a local service, join a group, go on a walking trail with friends, right across East Lothian.

Alistair Forbes, Founding Director and CEO, Scottish Tech Army commented:

“East Lothian is a thriving and dynamic hub of enterprise and innovation, but like everywhere else, the pandemic placed a heavy burden on every aspect of the local economy. SOLE will be a catalyst for transformational change, bringing a focus on everything that East Lothian’s towns have to offer.”

“We all understand why we should support our local economy but that can be hard to do because we don’t have the time to look in multiple places or can’t find what we want. SOLE provides the answer, with access to local resources all within one easy-to-use online environment that helps to inform people in the community, draws them into the town centres and helps them make the most of everything their town has to offer.”

“As more businesses and local organisations sign up to the SOLE app across Haddington, Musselburgh, North Berwick, Prestonpans, Tranent, and Dunbar as well as their surrounding areas, we invite local businesses of all sizes, as well as local community groups and charities to come forward to embrace and benefit from this exceptional community engagement platform.”

Councillor John McMillan, Provost and Cabinet Spokesman for Environment, Economic Development and Tourism at East Lothian Council commented:

“The vibrancy of East Lothian enriches the lives of the people who live and work here and SOLE is going to be hugely beneficial to everyone. It is so important, not just for the economy of our local communities, but for the region as a whole that we do whatever we can to showcase to our residents what a wonderfully dynamic and diverse range of opportunity East Lothian offers.”

“Whether you are a business or someone who wants to make the most of the area they live in, SOLE is an incredibly powerful resource to have on your mobile device.”    

SOLE provides much more than an immersive local shopping platform. It has been designed with a strong emphasis on lifestyle and leisure time. Users can reserve a table in a favourite local bar or restaurant or get details of events via a bespoke ‘listings’ calendar. Moreover, information on local attractions, area news, location specific promotions and other offers, will entice users to explore East Lothian and enjoy the very best of living locally.

Alistair Forbes concluded:

“East Lothian is leading the way towards a new era of local engagement. Everyone is now transfixed by the way their mobile device has enhanced their daily lives. Adding the SOLE app will show people living in communities across East Lothian how easily they can play an active role in their area and really boost their local economy.”

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