19 November 2020

A city wide gift card scheme launched in Sunderland to encourage shoppers to buy local has had a huge response from businesses.

The Sunderland Gift Card scheme, an initiative created by Sunderland BID and Sunderland City Council, allows recipients to spend its value across a wide range of options – from retail to hotel stays to meals out.

And despite only being launched a week ago, more than 70 businesses have already confirmed they want to sign up – with others expressing their interest on a daily basis.

Leading high street brands and independent traders from across the city have come forward to be part of the scheme, which they can be involved with at no cost.

The only qualifying factor is that the outlet must be able to process Mastercard transactions.

Among the businesses which are now geared up to support the scheme are SAFC and restaurants Asiana, 2 Church Lane, The Looking Glass and tea room Crumb On In, along with stores such as Marks & Spencer and Primark, jewellers Pandora, Collinson’s and Nominations and furniture store, Harrison and Brown.

Ibbitson’s and Thorburn’s fruit and veg are also on board, as are bars Chaplins, Ttonic, The Live Lounge and the Roker Hotel, including the hotel’s Let There Be Crumbs tearoom and Poetic License distillery.

City clothes shops have also got behind the campaign with, Aphrodite, Port Independent, Bou-Chique, Designer Childrenswear and Dr Funkenstein preparing to  accept the cards, as are Reynold’s Outdoors and AndyMan UpCyclying in Jackie Whites Market.

Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID, said the response had been overwhelming.

“Since we first unveiled the plan we have had an amazingly positive response,” she said.

“Buying local is so important this year and this is a fantastic way to support so many different kinds of businesses because the card has numerous options for where it can be spent.                                               

“Research shows that the vast majority of gift cards are redeemed in January and February which will go even further to support businesses at what is always a quiet time of year.”

The Sunderland Gift Card is part of the Reopening High Streets Safely project, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The cards can be accepted anywhere that takes Mastercard and can be purchased for amounts between £5 and £500.

Any business wanting to sign up should contact [email protected]