Dumfries and Galloway Council supports Scottish Government-backed scheme to keep spending local for longer as more of the region’s businesses are urged to cash in.
Businesses in Dumfries and Galloway are leading the pack in a milestone move encouraging everyone to support local businesses. A number are among the first in the country to sign up to the new Scotland Loves Local Gift Card programme to help fuel the fightback from Covid-19 in town centres across the region.And all businesses locally – whether shops, cafes, leisure venues or visitor attractions – are being urged to follow them after Dumfries and Galloway Council moved quickly to agree to spearhead the scheme locally.
The Scottish Government is backing the rollout of regional gift cards in each of the country’s 32 local authority areas. That work is being led by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), working with Perth-based fintech specialist Miconex. Each can only be spent in the region for which they are branded. The Dumfries and Galloway Loves Local Gift Card will be available for consumer purchase later this year.
Depute Leader Rob Davidson said “We welcome the launch of the Scotland Loves Local Dumfries and Galloway gift card. It is great that every penny spent on the gift card stays in Dumfries and Galloway. This is good news for our local economy as we recover from the impact of lockdowns.”
Archie Dryburgh Vice Chair of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee commented “We really need every local business to sign up to accept the gift card whether you are a shop, a restaurant, a hairdresser or visitor attraction. There is no cost to sign up for the business, and it only takes 5 minutes. Dumfries and Galloway were one of the first local authourities to sign up for the gift card, let’s make sure you can spend your gift card everywhere in the region from Langholm to Portpatrick”
News of the rollout has been announced as the latest phase of the Scotland Loves Local campaign is launched, urging the region’s residents to “choose local” to support people and businesses in their communities.
It’s a message that strikes a chord strongly with social enterprise The Guild Dumfries, which runs a monthly market in the town centre – showcasing the work of local independent businesses – and has ambitious plans to secure a permanent retail and workshop presence on the High Street.A powerful advocate of the message for people to think local first and shop local, it is among those which has been swift to sign up to accept the gift card.
Co-Director Leah Halliday said: “The message to support local businesses is really important. There’s nothing better than keeping money in the local economy. We hope that the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card is another way of doing this.
“When we hold our markets and pop-up shops, we see the genuine desire that there is from people to shop locally. Almost every other customer says how great it is to be able to buy local. We hope that’s positive for the future.
“Shopping locally is far more in people’s consciousness now than it was before the pandemic. It’s something people feel passionate about.”
Other traders and businesses across the region have already signed up.
The first year of costs of the gift cards are being met by the Scottish Government as part of its £10m of support for Scotland Loves Local. There are no registration costs for businesses. Payments are processed as part of the Mastercard network.
STP Chief Officer Phil Prentice said: “We are delighted that Dumfries and Galloway Council has been so quick to sign up and encourage businesses to be part of the new Scotland Loves Local Gift Card.
“The power of choosing local and supporting the region’s businesses should not be underestimated. As individuals, making the right choice has never been more important for our communities.
“Using the Dumfries and Galloway Loves Local Gift Card will be another way in which people can decide to support the people, shops, services and attractions around them.”
Scotland’s Community Wealth Minister, Tom Arthur, is also urging businesses to sign up.
He said: “We are delighted to be backing this innovative scheme as part of our pledge to support local businesses and communities within the first 100 days of government.
“The Gift Card is a quick and efficient way to encourage spend and drive sales growth in our local economies. Thanks to Scottish Government funding, this is the first of its kind on a national scale and I look forward to seeing businesses benefit from the opportunities it presents.
“In the coming months we will further bolster the Scotland Loves Local (SLL) campaign with the second tranche of our SLL Fund, helping communities revitalise their own towns or neighbourhoods, building wealth and delivering greater, greener and fairer prosperity.”
Card operator Miconex already supports more than 60 gift card programmes across the UK, Ireland and North America.
Miconex Managing Director Colin Munro said: “We hope to see businesses in every community register to realise the scheme’s full potential – and so everyone can benefit. Research by The Gift Card and Voucher Association suggests that local gift card schemes have a huge multiplier effect, with up to an additional 65% of the card’s value being spent as people visit other shops, hospitality venues or leisure attractions.”
For more information about the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card – including how to sign up – go to www.lovelocal.scot/giftcard.