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The purchase fee helps to cover the costs of using the digital payments infrastructure and ensures that we can continue to make the program free for businesses.

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5 Ways you can still support local businesses this Christmas

“I do think people should prioritise what matters, and that, by definition, means deprioritising other things,” said chief medical officer for England Chris Witty on the 15th December, whilst Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon advised reduced contact with people from other households and staying home as much as possible. With similar advice coming from Wales and Ireland, this has led to some difficult decisions for people and challenging trading conditions once more for businesses. But there is still lots you can do to support local this Christmas.

The January boost
Over 8500 businesses are part of the 70 plus Town & City Gift Card programmes, and after this latest batch of covid guidelines, they are going to need our help even more. A Town & City Gift Card can only be spent in a particular town or city, so it’s money that is safely reserved for local businesses in that place, ready for when you are. As a bonus, most gift cards purchased for Christmas get spent between January and March, giving businesses a boost when they need it most.

Spend your gift card online
Scottish guidance from Friday 17th December includes greater physical distancing and one way entrances and exits in shops. If you are heading out to the shops for some final Christmas shopping, add on extra time. And remember, many of our Town & City Gift Card programmes have online retailers where you can redeem your gift card, listed under the ‘where to spend’ section. Find an online retailer, follow the link to their website and you can redeem your gift card using the long card number from your gift card alongside the expiry date and CVV number. They may even offer click and collect to minimise your time at the shops.

Go digital
A fast and convenient way to finish off your Christmas shopping is with digital gift cards. There are now 16 digital Town & City Gift Card programmes around the UK and Ireland. Make your selection, and the recipient receives a text or email with their digital gift card code. Using our new Love Local app, they can add the balance to their digital wallet. Then, when they’re ready, they can make a purchase using their mobile phone.

A helping hand for hospitality
The hospitality industry has been hit particularly badly with a slew of cancellations for everything from office parties to Christmas lunches, and estimates of December takings being down 40%. If you’ve made the difficult decision to cancel a festive gathering in a restaurant, café or pub, think about other ways you can show your support, such as having the meal as a takeaway instead.

And of course, there are lots of other ways to show your support for local, like sharing posts from businesses you love, posting about positive experiences you’ve had with businesses in your area, and helping them to discover brilliant new local brands with Town & City Gift Cards!