Employers across Scotland are being urged to use local gift cards to reward their staff and other businesses in their community this Christmas.

There is strong support from employees for the companies they work for to get behind other local enterprises when considering incentives schemes.

And the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card is a potential way in which businesses can not only show their appreciation to colleagues for all that they do, but their commitment to helping build a stronger community.

Increasing social awareness has been highlighted as firms across Scotland make decisions about how best to reward their staff this festive season - with plenty of time still to make corporate orders for gift cards.

Polling commissioned by Scotland’s Towns Partnership, the organisation behind Scotland Loves Local, demonstrated the strong support for companies to use local gift cards when celebrating success, rather than opting for national or online-only alternatives.

The poll of almost 1,400 adults, carried out by the Diffley Partnership, found that:

  • Almost seven-in-10 (68%) agreed that when using gift cards to reward and incentivise staff, employers should use local gift card schemes to support local town centres and small businesses rather than national alternatives.
  • Two-thirds (66%) agreed that offering a local gift card scheme is an effective way for employers to incentivise and reward their staff.
  • Three-quarters (78%) agreed that employers should do more to support local businesses in their area.

Kimberley Guthrie, STP’s interim chief officer, said: “It’s fantastic to see the local pride and will from people working across Scotland to be rewarded in a way which allows them to directly support the people and businesses around them - especially at Christmas.

“When local employers support each other, it makes a tremendous difference. Greater use of local gift cards has the power to channel millions of pounds more of spending directly into local economies - a potential game-changer for many businesses.

“Keeping money local for longer is at the heart of this. It’s often said that every pound spent locally flips six times in the area’s economy, so the knock-on effect is significant.

“Thinking local first protects jobs, is better for the environment and helps make our communities more vibrant places in which to live. For employers, there are few more powerful forms of corporate social responsibility than helping support the future of other local businesses. Local gift cards allow them to do precisely that.”

Sales of the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card have already topped £640,000 so far this year - with half of sales coming from corporate organisations using the cards for staff, client and volunteer rewards, incentives and support.

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Perth-based fintech Miconex delivers the gift card initiative for STP.

Miconex managing director Colin Munro said: “Organisations are increasingly making the move to local gift cards to reward staff, customers and service users because they offer choice for the recipient blended with support for local. Firms want to offer a reward or incentive that reflects the diversity of their people, that can be used by the recipient easily and in a way that suits their individual needs.

“Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards offer a tangible means for organisations to give staff a useful reward or incentive and support local at the same time.”

Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards are available for every local authority region in Scotland. More than 7,000 businesses across the country are registered to accept them.

While born out of the need for people to get behind businesses in their community following the first coronavirus lockdown, the wider Scotland Loves Local campaign has grown into a long-term initiative for people to lay the foundations for stronger, more sustainable communities of the future by thinking local first and supporting local enterprises of all kinds.

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Benefits for businesses

For more than 50 years David Cox Butchers has been a staple part of the community in Bridgeton, Glasgow, supported by a loyal core of customers. They have now, however, been joined by a new band - thanks to the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card.

In summer 2022, Glasgow City Council distributed cards loaded with £105 each to 85,000 lower income households as part of an initiative designed to help people struggling due to the rising cost of living, and to support businesses with their continued recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The council’s actions - financed by a Scottish Government grant and supported by Scotland’s Towns Partnership, the organisation behind Scotland Loves Local - is a move which has so far directly driven more than £7m into the city’s economy.

Far from being a one-off boost, businesses such as David Cox Butchers are seeing longer-term benefits.

Not only has the gift card encouraged people to visit and spend once - but time and again.

It is an experience which strikes at the heart of what the card and the wider Scotland Loves Local movement is trying to achieve.

George Gilmour is the third generation of his family to run the butcher’s, founded by his papa, David Cox, in 1970.

Speaking about the immediate impact of the council’s disbursement of the Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Card on his business, he said: “We saw a massive boost in footfall - a lot of new customers, a lot of new faces. The day that the gift cards started arriving at peoples’ houses, we were inundated.

“Over the past year, they’ve returned time and again. I think the gift card has helped people discover more local businesses and realising the great quality, value and service you get from them.”

As well as the award-winning business’ traditional home on Main Street, Bridgeton, David Cox has expanded in recent years, adding a shop in Kingsheath Avenue, Kingspark, which is also proving popular.

Find out more and place your Scotland Loves Local Gift Card order by clicking here.