The Department has published a digital suite of promotional materials for all those eligible retail, hospitality and service businesses, which are now available from nibusinessinfo. These tools can be used for retailers to show their support for the scheme and to encourage shoppers to give local businesses and their community a lift.
In addition, an advertising campaign has been launched to encourage shoppers to use their card to support their local businesses.
The Minister said: “The High Street Scheme is designed to boost businesses across the retail, hospitality and services sectors following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is unprecedented in Northern Ireland, and I would urge all businesses to show their support to help maximise the benefits of the Spend Local cards. The first step should be to share the digital promotional materials on your social media platforms.
“I would also urge shoppers to use their Spend Local cards wisely to support the local economy and local communities. A little spend can have a big effect.”
Retail NI Chief Executive, Glyn Roberts said the scheme comes on the back of a very challenging period for retailers right across Northern Ireland.
He said: “The High Street Support Scheme is a welcome step in the long road to recovery for Northern Ireland’s retailers and I would encourage everyone in our industry to think hard about how they can encourage people to use their £100 Spend Local card with their business. It should be remembered that 70p in every pound spent in an independent retailer is recycled around the local economy. If consumers make a special effort to spend their £100 with local traders, then they will also be ensuring the money also goes towards invigorating the wider community.”
Hospitality Ulster Chief Executive, Colin Neil said the impact of Covid-19 continues to present major challenges for the hospitality industry across Northern Ireland.
He said: “There is a great deal of uncertainty in the industry at the minute. The pandemic has had a devastating impact right across the sector. We welcome the introduction of the High Street Scheme, which is a great opportunity for people to support jobs of friends and family who work in hospitality while enjoying some of the best food and drink in the world.
“I would urge our members to download the digital materials and use them to promote the Spend Local cards across social media. It is vital we maximise the benefits of the scheme so we can all support our local hospitality businesses and our struggling high streets.”
Northern Ireland Hotels Federation Chief Executive, Janice Gault welcomed the introduction of the scheme and described the local tourism industry as a key driver for Northern Ireland’s economy.
She said: “The High Street Support Scheme is good news for our industry as we continue on our road to recovery. My message to our members is to ensure they do all they can to encourage people to use their Spend Local cards with them which will give a boost to their business and the wider economy.
“The first thing to do is download the digital promotional materials and share them across social media so the public knows where they can redeem their cards. The scheme is a great opportunity to give a boost to our struggling high streets and I would encourage the public to carefully consider how they use their cards, so the maximum benefit is extended as far as possible.”
Meanwhile, both the business community and the public are warned to be on their guard against scammers attempting to take advantage of the scheme. The Department will not be asking for personal bank details at any point during the scheme.