A new gift card scheme – the Island Card – is set to launch on the Isle of Wight as part of a raft of wide-ranging measures to help get the local economy back on its feet.
Residents will be able to spend in local shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and leisure venues using the special pre-paid ‘Island Card’ — helping to support independent retailers and reboot the high streets.
Working in the same way as a shopping centre or department store gift card, purchasers will be able to choose how much they want to pre-load onto the card.
The Isle of Wight Council is looking to team up with local business associations, alongside town and parish councils, to develop pilot schemes in Newport and Ryde.
Whittle: We really need Islanders to shop local
By encouraging consumers to shop local, Councillor Wayne Whittle, Cabinet member for regeneration and business development, said similar projects in other parts of the country had brought a welcome boost to the local economy.
“The high street and our town centres are an integral part of post-Covid recovery.
“Now more than ever, we really need Islanders to shop local. If people don’t come into our town centres and support our businesses, we really will lose them.
“This would be a fantastic way to keep spending right at the heart of the local economy.”
The development of an Island gift card is just one way the council aims to work with its partners to help the Island’s economy bounce back from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The ‘three pillars of recovery’
Published for the first time today (Wednesday), the authority’s Covid-19 recovery plan — A Better Island — forms the blueprint to get the Island on the road to recovery.
Based on the ‘three pillars of recovery’ — community, economic and place — the proposals focus on the next 18 months: keeping Covid-19 infection under control, supporting people and businesses through the recession, and working with partners to do both while under huge financial pressure.
Council leader Dave Stewart said:
“The coronavirus pandemic has hit our Island extremely hard, and we now need to ensure that we prioritise helping our businesses and residents by giving them as much support as we can so they can recover from this unprecedented situation.
“The underpinning of our recovery plan is that it keeps people safe as well as helping to bring our economy alive with innovative schemes such as the proposed Island Card, pop-up business school to assist people to start their own business and a youth employment support hub.
“The crisis has shown us how we can all pull together, and why we need to continue with that community spirit. This plan will focus on the most vulnerable but also aims to ensure that no one on our Island is left behind.”
News shared by Isle of Wight council press office. Ed