Plan for new East Ayrshire Gift Card meets council approval

East Ayrshire shops, coffee shops, restauarants, leisure and entertainment venues are set to get a boost as they emerge from lockdown with the introduction of the new East Ayrshire Gift card. 

A loyalty card, bought either online or in participating businesses, the East Ayrshire Gift Card scheme was approved at this week’s East Ayrshire Council  Executive Committee. It will be launched in a joint initiative with both their Town Centre team, working with Kilmarnock and Cumnock Business Associations and encompassing traders in all villages and towns of East Ayrshire. 

Welcoming the news, Councillor Jim Roberts, Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure said: “Something that has been obvious to many of us as we’ve faced this pandemic, is firstly the devastating effect closure and lockdown has had on our local economy; and secondly, as food shortages hit and people haven’t been able to travel so easily, we’ve realised just how much we need our small local retailers, how much we miss a trip to a restaurant, coffee shop or cinema and how good it is to have personal, local service – especially where so many have managed to adapt and offer delivery and online services.

“Our retailers, food and entertainment providers have done what they can where they can to keep us supplied, and as we emerge, it’s really important we now all do our bit to help support them through the tough times which inevitably lie ahead.

“It’s for this reason that we’re delighted to be able to move towards the launch of this gift card in conjunction with local businesses in all our towns and villages. With prepaid cards of a value of their choosing, people will be able to give a really valuable present, allowing users to choose from a huge range of participating venues from small family run enterprises to national chains throughout East Ayrshire.

“We hope this will help boost footfall, make telephone or online purchasing easier and encourage people to try buying from or visiting places they’ve not previously been aware of or tried.

“Working with Miconex, who run this scheme with great success in many other areas, people can go online, buy their card and have it posted out or buy one in person at a participating retailer. The website will also host a comprehensive list of all the participating businesses.

“The cards can be used over the phone, online or in person but can only be spent with a registered local business. Buying an East Ayrshire Gift Card keeps the money in circulation in the local area, helping support local businesses, jobs and families.

“For the businesses themselves, the scheme can only be an advantage, bringing in new customers by telephone, on foot and online, and there is no deduction from them from the cost of a purchase. We’ve got so many wonderful businesses working so hard in this area and collaborating with the Business Associations and other interested parties we’re hoping this will boost their sales and scope for the future as they rebuild. It builds on all the work we’ve done with our Shop Local and Vow to Wow campaigns in recent years. This card is a great way to treat a friend or relative at the same time as giving back to our business communities.” 

Peter Telfer of the Kilmarnock Business Association said: “We’re very excited about this new card. We’re hoping it will encourage people to  explore more of the shops available in their area and once we’re all  open  for business again it will be vital to us all that we get that local support. We know many East Ayrshire businesses have gone above and beyond with amended services during lockdown and we hope that people will remember this and buy the cards, use them locally and help keep revitalise our high streets.”

The East Ayrshire Gift card will launch later this summer.  To find out more email: gift.card@east-ayrshire.gov.uk

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