Buying from local businesses and traders is about to get a bit easier - even during lockdown - with the introduction of the Wight Gift Card.
The new card, accepted only in selected Isle of Wight businesses, was launched this Wednesday in Cowes High Street when John Irvine, CEO of main sponsor WightFibre, made the first purchase with a Wight Gift Card in Shorelines of Cowes.
The Wight Gift Card works like a local currency, with each gift card a pre-paid Mastercard that can be redeemed at registered businesses on the Isle of Wight, for online purchases and in stores, if open.
Shoppers can buy the card as a gift, and know that with a Wight Gift Card their recipient can choose their own selection from many of the Isle of Wight’s best-known brands and producers, right across the Island.
The new gift card scheme follows on from recent shop local initiatives on the Island such as Fiver Fest and Let’s Buy Local and will be available for customers to buy now for delivery from 24 November: in time for Christmas and the January sales.
The card is supported by the Isle of Wight Council, and will support the Isle of Wight’s post-COVID business recovery strategy, in a bid to encourage residents and visitors to shop locally and keep their money on the Island.
Councillor Wayne Whittle, cabinet member for regeneration at the Isle of Wight Council said: "There is a very strong sense of identity on the Island, and with the Wight Gift Card, we can express our support for where we are from.
"Instead of purchasing a product on Amazon, with the card we can buy on the Island instead, online as well as in shops.
“Normally, 30% of local expenditure on the Island will make its way out of the local economy. If we can plug that leak, then it means more money in the local economy.
“One positive from the pandemic is that more people are starting to shop locally again.
"This is a trend that we need to build on and develop.
"Thanks to WightFibre's support, we have an opportunity to show customers a different way of shopping, keeping money in local economies and driving their recovery.
"In this way, we can help support the future of Island high streets.”
WightFibre's chief executive John Irvine said: “WightFibre is delighted to join forces with the Isle of Wight Council to launch the Island’s Wight Gift Card.
"In this very difficult year of the COVID-19 pandemic it is even more important for us all to support Island businesses.
"As an Island business ourselves, WightFibre is happy to do our little bit to help and to make it easier for Islanders to keep their spend on the Island."
Bob Seely MP said: “This is a great, innovative way of supporting Island businesses through a difficult time. Now more than ever the Island needs to support its local businesses, and this is a great way to do so.
“Not only will the card provide a gift idea but it also keeps money within the local economy.
“The Wight Gift Card gives us the opportunity to support our local businesses and economy but also to rediscover and make the most of some of the amazing produce we have here.
“It’s another example of the Island coming together and finding community solutions that work.
“Let’s think local and celebrate what the Island has to offer.”