LESS THAN a year since social enterprise the Scottish Tech Army began the deployment of its innovative local economy platform SOLE in East Lothian, it is celebrating scooping the Scotland Loves Local Digital Town Award at this year’s Scotland’s Towns Conference held in Kilmarnock.
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 has been 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.
Since the spring, the SOLE Scotland team has been on the ground in the county, attending and supporting events, encouraging and working with local organisations and businesses to ‘onboard’ them to the platform and the community’s response has been very positive, with more the 2,000 downloads of the app in the first three months.
Alistair Forbes, Founding Director and CEO, Scottish Tech Army commented:
“This is a wonderful recognition of the contribution of our volunteer community, our technology partner OCS and the hard work and dedication of our local engagement and customer success teams and we are extremely grateful to the communities in East Lothian for their support for this project.”
Scotland’s Towns Partnership Chief Officer Phil Prentice said:
“Congratulations to the Scottish Tech Army and its partners. This is a thoroughly well-deserved award. “The work of the SOLE project in East Lothian has embraced digital innovation to provide a tremendous platform for local businesses while also encouraging residents to think, choose and spend locally – helping to build a stronger future for the region.”
East Lothian Provost, John McMillan added his congratulations:
“We are delighted that this innovative project has been rightly recognised in this year’s Awards. Local businesses, community organisations and the people of East Lothian are enjoying the best of living locally thanks to the implementation of the platform across the county.”