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Gift card scheme boosts Sunderland City economy

A new gift card scheme is proving to be a success in Sunderland, helping boost the local economy by £40,000 within weeks of its launch.

More than 100 local businesses initially signed up to the scheme, which is the result of a partnership between Sunderland BID and Sunderland City Council, and this number continues to grow.

So far, 1700 cards have been sold, with shoppers and companies recognising the importance of shopping local and supporting the city’s economy during these challenging times.

The card can be spent on a variety of local retail, hospitality, experiential, and professional services.

Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at Sunderland BID, said the response to the scheme had been overwhelming, stating: “We’ve been thrilled not only by the number of businesses which have signed up to accept the card but also by the variety.

“That means that the recipient will have a huge choice of places to spend it. We have everyone from high street retailers to Sunderland’s unique independents on board, as well as everyone from restaurants to hotels, so there really is something for everyone.”

Cards have been bought by a variety of locals, from shoppers to companies looking to reward their staff and customers.

Sharon also thanked those companies that have chosen to buy the cards to reward their staff.

“We are constantly promoting the shop local message, and this is something that people have taken to heart,” said Sharon.

Gift cards can be purchased for amounts between £5 and £500 at, where a list of participating local businesses can also be found.

The scheme is part of the Reopening High Streets Safely project, partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund, which aims to help boost local economies by supporting innovation, business, recruitment, and community regeneration.