The Chief Executive of a local Chamber of Commerce has backed the idea that a new gift card scheme could become a local currency, with significant benefits for local economies.

Dunbartonshire Chamber boss, Damon Scott, thinks there are a range of exciting ways the new East Dunbartonshire Gift Card and West Dunbartonshire Gift Card could be used in the region.

The new gift cards for Dunbartonshire are part of the national rollout of Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards for every region of Scotland, through the Scottish Government’s £10m of support for Scotland Loves Local. Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards are being delivered by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) alongside Miconex, the Perth based payments provider behind the Town & City Gift Card programmes.

“It is free for businesses to be a part of the East and West Dunbartonshire Gift Cards and we welcome businesses from all sectors to join, including retail, accommodation, hospitality, leisure and services. If we can build momentum and critical mass for the East and West Dunbartonshire Gift Cards it could become an ultra-local and incredibly convenient way for local people to pay for goods and services and ensure that spend stays local,” said Damon.

“Initially the focus has been on encouraging our local communities to use it as a gift card for friends and family and there is still a huge opportunity for this around birthdays, Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas and other special occasions.

“It could even be used as a pocket-money card by the younger members of our community or as a replacement for petty cash for many businesses – we have already heard of businesses buying the card as staff reward too.”

The Scotland Loves Local campaign is a national initiative, led by Scotland’s Towns Partnership, designed to encourage all those who live in Scotland to think local first and support their high streets. The Chamber has been leading the Loves Local Campaign on a regional level across East and West Dunbartonshire, supporting hundreds of businesses by encouraging communities to choose local and shop local.

Scotland's Towns Partnership Chief Officer Phil Prentice: "The Chamber and businesses across East and West Dunbartonshire have been fantastic champions of the Scotland Loves Local programme, encouraging people to get behind the businesses around them. We're delighted to see them fly the flag for the gift cards too.

"These are a great way of not just showing their support for businesses in their community, but driving spend into their local economy. It's a real force for good as we recover from the pandemic and lay the foundations for a stronger future."

Miconex operates 17 Town & City Gift Card programmes in Scotland. Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex said: “We’re pleased to see Dunbartonshire Chamber driving forward the East and West Dunbartonshire Gift Cards, and exploring the variety of use cases for their gift cards. We’ve seen many examples of this across our Scottish programmes, including an innovative disbursal of funds initiative.

“When you look at local gift cards not only as gift cards but as local currencies, you really begin to unlock their potential, stimulating economic activity, driving footfall and supporting businesses, but also supporting the people within those communities and contributing to the evolution of our Scottish high streets.

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