A brand new Southport Gift Card is being launched to encourage more people to spend money locally and to help businesses recover from the Coronavirus crisis.

Southport Business Improvement District is launching the scheme with the support of over 60 local shops, restaurants, cafes, leisure attractions, guest houses and hotels, and is keen to see others get involved too.

The new scheme works exactly like any other shop gift card scheme. The purchaser can pre-load from £10 up to £200 on a card that they give as a present to colleagues, friends or family members. The card can then be spent just like any other debit card and they can purchase from any venue accepting it and spread their spend across as many venues as they wish.

Southport BID has partnered with Miconex to deliver the pre-payment gift card with the aim to have it accepted in over 150 stores, hospitality venues or attractions.

It will go on sale from early August.

Southport BID CEO Rachel Fitzgerald said: “We want to give shoppers choice while protecting local spending. Credit on the card will be redeemable through multiple transactions at participating businesses within the Southport BID area.

“The Southport gift card will provide shoppers a great local alternative to existing national cards, and represents an important development for local businesses helping harness the sense of supporting local in the recovery from this crisis and beyond.

“Together with a far stronger website and campaign for southportindependents.co.uk we want the card to help drive local spend and a shop local message.

“Our focus is firmly set on helping our local businesses in Southport to recover from this Covid crisis.

“We are doing everything we can to help our town.”

Southport BID has had a busy few months helping hundreds of businesses through the impact of the Coronavirus lockdown.

They have been providing people in the town with up-to-date Government rules and guidance; have been helping firms to access grants and loans; and have been helping in the recovery process by helping shops, offices, restaurants, bars and other places of work to reopen in a Covid secure way.

A new partnership with Meercat Associates, the only UK-wide BID-buying group, aims to cut costs for local firms.

The Southport Gift Card is a new initiative which aims to ensure that more money is spent locally as the Covid recovery continues.

Sarah Rodriguez from Southport BID said: “We have more than 60 local businesses which have already signed up, and we are looking to launch the card to members of the public soon. We hope to see more than 100 businesses sign up in the first year.

“It is all about supporting business recovery and helping people to spend money locally.

“People who use the card will be able to discover new shops and businesses which they may not have tried before, while also visiting some of their favourite places.

“This is something which has worked really well in other BID areas and something we want to see replicated here in Southport.”

Rachel Fitzgerald said: “The Southport Gift Card allows people to group buy.

“For example, if parents at a school are looking to buy a thoughtful present for a teacher at their child’s class, then a Southport Gift Card is a great way to do it.

“It will be a great present for family members who maybe have not seen each other for a while, have been in lockdown, or as a birthday present or Christmas present which allows people to support their local economy.

“It appeals to a wide local market including a younger audience, with a wide range of local businesses involved.”

The Fig Bistro restaurant on Eastbank Street in Southport is among those which have signed up.

Owner Janine Madi said: “The Southport Gift Card is a start to encourage residents to shop local.

“I feel that many people are apprehensive about going out but if they realise that they will be helping local families to make a living and in turn boost the economy then that’s great.

“I am a Southport resident, I have two daughters and one granddaughter and we live in a lovely town that needs all our support to survive.”

All your business needs to do to accept the Southport Business Card is have a till system / PDQ that accepts Mastercard.

Southport BID will be promoting the card and there will be a dedicated website for people to buy it securely – with each business accepting it listed. There are no charges other than a normal Mastercard processing fee from your merchant services provider.

With over 40 schemes across the country now active, business participants nationally include both high street chains, independent shops, restaurants, pubs, cinemas and hotels.

For more details about Southport BID, please visit their website at: southportbid.com or Like the Southport BID page on Facebook, Follow them @SouthportBID on Twitter and at southportbid on Instagram.