CAKES, pottery, jewellery, books, candles and other gifts are for sale online as part of Dudley Council's new virtual Christmas market.

Shoppers can browse online at and find local businesses which are advertising their wares.

People are being urged to show their support for the borough’s small and independent businesses by shopping local when shopping online this Christmas.

With many non-essential shops and businesses ordered to close until December 2 as part of the tighter coronavirus restrictions, and other local businesses severely impacted by the lockdown, many people will be turning to online shopping.

The council's very first Christmas market, which it has set up as part of its shop local campaign, allows shoppers to do their Christmas shopping online while supporting their local high streets in the process.

More than 50 businesses have already signed up, showcasing a selection of their products including gift sets, books, handmade jewellery, flowers, sustainable lifestyle products, hampers, vouchers and ‘pay it forward’ gifts for those preferring to support those in need this year.

By visiting the virtual market from the comfort of their own home, residents can support independent retailers, knowing 100 per cent of the profits will go to the business.

The council is running the market on the Crowdfunder platform, which has waived fees to businesses during the course of the market.

Some businesses will offer a delivery service or click and collect service, which non-essential shops can do as part of the government’s tighter restrictions.

Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: "The latest restrictions, although necessary to prevent the further spread of the virus, will hit those businesses hard which were hoping to recoup some of the losses they have endured over the last few months in the run up to Christmas - one of the busiest trading times of the year.

"Our small and independent retailers and businesses need all the support they can get over the next few weeks and we are encouraging as many traders as possible to get involved to help make our virtual market as varied and exciting as can be.

"I would encourage everyone to visit Dudley’s virtual Christmas market when they’re about to embark on some online shopping and help them get through this period of uncertainty so, when this is all over, they can continue to be the life and soul of our town centres.”