Sunderland is celebrating the first anniversary of the launch of its citywide gift card, with the news of a whole host of additional outlets signing up.
The scheme, which was pioneered by Sunderland BID and Sunderland City Council, was unveiled in November last year and became an instant success, bringing in thousands of pounds to the local economy.
And ahead of the busiest time of the year, more hospitality and retail providers have agreed to accept the card – meaning that there are now around 150 places across the city it can be spent.
The Seaburn Inn, pubs The Ship Isis, and The Peacock are now accepting the cards, as are the Beacon of Light, Empire Cinema, Waterstones, Geek Retreat, House of Zen, Spent Grain, and Beaverbrooks.
The cards are accepted everywhere from beauty salons to restaurants, from food stores to clothes shops, as well as at florists, hairdressers and leisure outlets.
The beauty of the card is not only that it allows the recipient to spend it on something they really want but that it also gives a huge boost to the local economy.
“We launched the card a year ago when it was really important that we tried to encourage people to shop local,” said Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID.
“People were really suffering from the economic effects of lockdown so the cards brought a welcome boost – and have continued to do so.
“With a much happier Christmas hopefully on the horizon this year, we hope that anyone looking to buy friends, family or colleagues a present will consider getting them a gift card.”
The Sunderland Gift Card is part of the Reopening High Streets Safely project, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
Councillor Graeme Miller, the Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “I’d urge anyone looking to buy presents for family and friends this Christmas to think about a Sunderland gift card.
“Not only does it guarantee that your loved ones get to choose something that they really want but it’s also a brilliant way of supporting local jobs and local businesses.
“I know people feel very strongly about our city and this is an excellent way of demonstrating your support for the city all year round.
“By buying a Sunderland gift card, you’re helping to keep money and jobs in our city, rather than spending it with an online business or a company that may have little or no physical presence here.”
The cards can be accepted anywhere that takes Mastercard and can be purchased for amounts between £5 and £500. They can be bought at www.sunderlandgiftcard.com