Action by Glasgow City Council to support residents through the cost of living crisis triggered a multi-million pound boost for local businesses.
As families struggled with rising bills, the authority took advantage of a Scottish Government fund to channel support directly to low income households, starting in summer 2022.
And its impact has been significant – not only personally as cards worth £105 each were distributed to 85,000 eligible households across the city, but with the businesses those who received them went on to spend with.
As of June 2023, more than £7.5m had been spend using those cards with businesses registered to accept them.
The ripple effects from the programme were all that those involved with the project hoped that it would be – coming as businesses continued to recover from the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
Over and above the disbursement work, sales of the card as a gift or corporate reward are also growing year-on-year – embedding its position as another way of showing support for local businesses, including local organisations using it as a means by which to support each other.
The cards were distributed to homes across the city during August 2022, attracting significant media interest.
As part of an extensive communications and engagement campaign, a mailshot was sent to residents ahead of them receiving their campaign, a special online portal created by the council and call centre staff trained how to support people with queries, supported by a major awareness-raising drive on social media and a paid-for advertising campaign.
All of this was supported by the local authority leading a drive to ensure as many businesses as possible were signed up to accept the card. As of June 2023, people with cards can spend in 1,700 businesses – including shops, cafes, restaurants, visitor attractions and much more.
Businesses were hopeful that the benefits of the card would be felt in the long-run.
Speaking as the gift cards were distributed, Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: “Using the gift cards in the way that we are will not only help people struggling with the cost of living in low income households, but unlock a multi-million pound boost for businesses in Glasgow.
“This is a win-win for the city. It enables people and businesses to help each other at a time when it’s critical for our communities to pull together to tackle the significant challenges we continue to face in recovering from coronavirus as well as dealing with the rise in living costs.”
from coronavirus as well as dealing with the rise in living costs.”
Partnerships developed on the back of the disbursement programme included those with Strathclyde Passenger Transport. You can read more about the success of that here.
The same Scottish Government fund which supported the Glasgow disbursement programme was used to fund those helping low income households in several other local authority regions – Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, South Aryshire and East Renfrewshire.
Find out how your business or community can benefit from the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card by visiting www.lovelocal.scot/giftcard