Perthshire employers reward staff and support local

Perthshire employers are choosing to reward staff with local gift cards in place of staff Christmas parties this year.

Charity Corbenic, which offers a residential environment for adults with learning disabilities, and insurance services company GS Group are both providing their teams with Perth Gift Cards as festive rewards. The Perth Gift Card is part of the Town and City Gift Cards programme active in 17 areas of Scotland from November 2020.

Nicola Sutcliffe, finance manager at local Perthshire charity Corbenic said rewarding staff with the Perth Gift Card aligns with the charity’s community ethos:

We provide a safe, rural environment for our residents, but we also provide as many opportunities as we can through our workshops. Here residents can learn skills to increase their confidence and find fulfilment, such as on our farm, growing vegetables, or producing woodwork, pottery and crafts. Items are then sold at our Dunkeld shop, but we also sell items from local artisan producers in the shop. It’s important for us that we are part of the local community, not cut off from it.

“This year has been hard for everyone. Staff and residents live at Corbenic in houses around the site, but everyone has had to stay to their house bubbles, not seeing family and friends and being unable to share things as a community. Staff would normally have a Christmas social event but this year is extraordinary and we wanted to reward staff in a way that represented this.

“We talked about different ideas, like an Amazon gift card, but they didn’t feel right for us or sit well with our community values. Then, we thought about the Perth Gift Card, which seemed ideal. Because it can be used with restaurants, shops and more, staff can still have their Christmas night out if they like, just with their family instead of colleagues. Or it could help with Christmas shopping.

“It’s different this year but it was important for us to keep the Christmas spirit. The Perth Gift Card helps us to do that.”

The Perth Gift Card can be redeemed with 70 independent businesses in the city centre and was the original Town and City Gift Card programme.

Another business rewarding staff with a local gift card in place of their Christmas party is GS Group who took advantage of the UK trivial benefits scheme, allowing employers to gives staff a benefit of up to £50 tax free. Founder George Stubbs said:

“We’re an independent business with most of our clients based locally. Usually we’d have a great Christmas party somewhere local to try to support our area. This year, we wanted to give staff a reward that was representative of what the annual party would be. We did a bit of investigating and came up with Town and City Gift Cards. We have offices across Scotland so have been able to buy Perth, Glasgow and Aberdeen Gift Cards for staff, depending on where they live.

“It has been a challenging year for everyone but some businesses have been hit harder than others and we have real empathy for firms in retail, hospitality and leisure that have been impacted most. People still need to have insurance, so we’re lucky to have been resilient as a business and fortunate to have staff who have continued to work hard remotely.

“Our success as an independent business is built on our community and those that support us, and in buying the Perth, Glasgow and Aberdeen Gift Cards for our staff this year, we are able to give back to our community. The response from staff has been fantastic.”

The award winning Town and City Gift Cards programme has experienced rapid expansion in 2020 in Scotland, with new programmes launching in November and December in Aberdeen, the Falkirk district, Kirkcaldy and rural Perth.  Places in Scotland with existing Town and City Gift Card programmes are: Arran, Crieff, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, Edinburgh, Elgin, Glasgow, Glasgow’s West End, Kirkwall, Milngavie, Perth, Shawlands and St. Andrews.

Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex said: “It is heart-warming to see local employers in Perthshire rewarding staff after a difficult year but also supporting local businesses that really need our help this year. Less than one fifth of employers are planning a Christmas party, and it’s natural that employers are looking for an alternative that employees will appreciate and local economies will benefit from. Gift cards are always top of the wish-list for employers but multi-venue gift cards are rising in popularity to 37.7% of all gift cards purchased in October. Our local gift cards are secure, support local, and also give the recipient greater choice.”