Thousands of Aberdeen residents are to receive a gift card to the value of £125 from Aberdeen City Council to help combat cost of living challenges.
Households in receipt of a Council Tax Reduction – more than 14,000 in total – will qualify for the card, which can be spent at nearly 300 local shops, including suppliers of food, clothing and other household items.
In June, the council agreed to allocate £1.9 million towards the gift card scheme, which was set up in 2020 by Aberdeen Inspired, the city’s Business Improvement District Operator, to stimulate business activity during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The card – valid for 12 months from activation – will be issued between 7 and 16 December, and initial letters containing individual activation codes will go out this week.
The council’s Finance and Resources Committee convener Councillor Alex McLellan said: “I’m pleased that Aberdeen City Council can offer direct financial assistance to households that may be struggling with the ongoing cost of living crisis, funded through £1.9 million received from the Scottish Government’s Local Authority Covid Economic Recovery Fund.
“I hope these gift cards will go some way to helping hard-pressed families over the winter months, as well as local businesses who will benefit from the additional spend in the local economy.”
Council co-leader Councillor Ian Yuill said: “As well as putting money in the pockets of vulnerable residents, the Economic Recovery Fund should benefit the city as whole. “Local shops and services will enjoy a welcome business boost following the Covid-19 pandemic, with the funding going back into the community and supporting jobs.”
Adrian Watson, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “We were delighted to bring the Aberdeen Gift Card scheme to the city in 2020 and this latest, much welcomed intervention by Aberdeen City Council will benefit many households in the city as well as providing a boost to local businesses at a time where it has never been needed more.
“With a nearly £2million cash injection, there has never been a better time for more of our businesses to sign up to the Aberdeen Gift Card.”
Aberdeen’s Gift Card is one of the existing district gift cards that benefits from the Scotland Loves Local brand, as part of the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card introduced by Scotland’s Towns Partnership in 2021.
Kimberley Guthrie, Director of Operations at Scotland’s Towns Partnership, said: “We are delighted to see Aberdeen City Council embrace the power of the Scotland Loves Local Aberdeen Gift Card to support people and businesses.
“Not only will this provide valuable support to households as they try to navigate the cost-of-living crisis, but it will support businesses with their continued recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The fact that this is happening as Christmas approaches is a boost to both as well.”
The disbursement of the £125 Aberdeen Gift Cards will be administered by Miconex.
Managing director of Miconex, Colin Munro, said: “The Aberdeen Gift Card is a local currency that has been a driving force in the city’s economy since its launch in 2020. It has provided the blueprint for how local gift cards can transform communities, with over £500,000 of gift cards sold.
“The £1.9 million disbursement of the Aberdeen Gift Card is another strand of this popular gift card, driving support to those most in need within the city, and supporting a variety of local businesses.”
The Scotland Loves Local Aberdeen Gift Card can be spent with over 200 businesses in the city.