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Scotland Loves Local Gift Card helps people and communities

The life-improving impact of action to provide financial support to local people is being championed by charities and local authorities.
Tom Arthur announces £250,000 of Scottish Government funding for the Scotland Loves Local campaign. Photo by Jamie Simpson/Scotland's Towns Partnership

Organisations across the country have used the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card to not just support people and families, but to inject money directly into regional economies – supporting local businesses.

And the benefits that an array of initiatives have had are to be highlighted as part of an event showcasing how cards can be used flexibly and effectively to improve communities.

A 30-minute lunchtime webinar, The Local Revolution: Connecting with communities using the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card, takes place on Wednesday October 25th.

It will highlight how communities can benefit as a housing association shares how it has used the card to support tenants, how a charity has embraced it to work with service users and how a council has inspired others by the way in which it has helped residents.

The gift card brand is an extension of Scotland Loves Local, the drive spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) – with support from the Scottish Government – encouraging people to build stronger communities by choosing local and getting behind people and organisations in their area.

Nicola Hutchinson, who leads on Scotland Loves Local at STP, will be among the speakers and said: “When you hear about the human impact of someone receiving a gift card to give them a financial lift when they have needed it most, it can be quite moving.

“We know from the people we work with that this has helped some to ensure they have not gone without essentials when the cost of living crisis has been deepest in their home.

“Not only that, but the unique way in which the card works – meaning that they can only be spent in the region for which they are branded – has guaranteed that they have spent directly with businesses in their area, locking that money into the local economy.

“That means by embracing the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card, organisations of all kinds have been able to help families at a critical time, but also help sustain local businesses and jobs, making their communities better. This webinar will celebrate all of that.”

The webinar is being hosted by Miconex, the Perth-based fintech which delivers the gift card initiative for STP.

And it is being held as research by the firm found that 83% of charities and non-profit organisations have offered some sort of cost of living support.

Miconex managing director Colin Munro said: “In our August 2023 research, 96% of charities and non-profit organisations say they have changed some aspect of their support for service users post pandemic. 73% say offering choice for service users is integral to support and 81% are choosing local gift cards to support their community. Organisations are increasingly switching to the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card as they offer useful support for service users, ultimate local choice and support for local too, all in one easy to use gift card.”

The other speakers at the webinar will be:

  • Laura Cuthbertson, Senior Housing officer at Cernach Housing Association which has distributed funding using the Glasgow Gift Card, supporting their tenants in Drumchapel with dignity during the cost of living crisis.
  • Tracy Murray, a town centre regeneration officer at East Ayrshire Council, which has used the East Ayrshire Gift Card to support low-income households in a way which blazed a trail for other local authorities.
  • Leanne Briggs, Short Breaks Broker at Dundee Carers which has used the Dundee Gift Card to offer choice and flexibility for their service users, and support for local businesses at the same time.

The social and wider economic benefits of the gift card were highlighted by recent research which has also encouraged employers across Scotland to incentivise staff with rewards which can only be spent with local enterprises.

Polling commissioned by Scotland Loves Local found that almost seven-in-10 (68%) agreed that when using gift cards to reward and incentivise staff, employers should use local gift card schemes to support local town centres and small businesses rather than national alternatives.

Three-quarters (78%) agreed that employers should do more to support local businesses in their area.

While born out of the need for people to get behind businesses in their community following the first coronavirus lockdown, the wider Scotland Loves Local campaign has grown into a long-term initiative for people to lay the foundations for stronger, more sustainable communities of the future by thinking local first and supporting local enterprises of all kinds.

You can book your place at The Local Revolution: Connecting with communities using the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card by clicking here