For one hour each week Braintree businesses take to Twitter to support what is fast becoming a huge local success story.

Last week 89 social media savvy traders from across the district took part in the Braintree Hour to tweet about their services and network with other businesses in the district.

The idea was launched in May by district councillor Stephen Canning, and since the first week, when only a couple of businesses took part, the project has gone from strength to strength.

In the latest Braintree Hour, which takes place every Wednesday between 4pm and 5pm, almost 1,500 tweets were sent which reached an estimated 75,754 people.

Mr Canning, who set up the Braintree Hour twitter account after seeing the idea being used in other towns, said: “There was a tweet about one in Colchester and someone said it was a shame there was nothing like it going on around here.

“I set up the account and just tweeted a few businesses.

“The main idea is to get all the businesses and everyone talking and sharing idea and tips and getting to know each other.

“The Braintree one is quite a sociable hour for the businesses, it is not about trying to sell stuff.

“It has a network effect.”

Three weeks ago Mr Canning launched the Chelmsford Hour, which takes place every Thursday between 4pm and 5pm, after noticing some businesses from the city were taking part in the Braintree Hour.

He had considered setting up individual accounts for Witham and Halstead but believes it is better to have a district wide project to ensure it thrives.

Local businesses are now also being encouraged to display Braintree Hour posters and tweet pictures of themselves holding one.