The South Ayrshire Gift Card can be spent with over 160 businesses across South Ayrshire, including Narture artisan bakery and café, opened by father and daughter duo Robert and Saskia in 2020. Saskia said:
“We started Narture in June 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic, with our bakery space on Cathcart Street in Ayr. As a Community Interest Company, our focus is benefiting and enhancing the community, using the profits from the bakery to fund arts projects in Ayr. We then took on the old Tourist Information Office on Sandgate, turning it into a café and arts space thanks to funding through Scotland Loves Local. Our latest project is transforming the old Toy Town on Newmaket Street, which has been shut for over a decade, into a café/ deli and arts space, which will host exhibitions/workshops and gigs, with a dark room facility and Riso printer, opening early next year.
“My dad and I both have an arts background, and have both worked in hospitality too. My first job was in a Glasgow Café that my dad and I set up, and I really enjoyed the social aspect so carried on working in hospitality through art school in Dundee. Our ethos at Narture is the fusion of food and art, a concept that has become really popular in recent years. When we opened Narture Bakery, it was very much about being experimental and exploring opportunities to be creative. Of course, it also needs to be sustainable, so we’re constantly evolving.
“Margaret from South Ayrshire Council’s Community Wealth Building Team told us about the Scotland Loves Local South Ayrshire Gift Card and we signed up to accept the card straight away. People can spend their card on our bakery products in our café space at 22 Sandgate, Ayr which also has artisan coffee, tea, organic deli produce and local ceramicists’ work. The good thing about the South Ayrshire Gift Card is that it will encourage people to explore what’s in their own area before going online or elsewhere. Thanks to the gift card, they can see that they can shop local and get really nice things. It’s a reminder to stop and see what’s around you.
“I think it’s harder for businesses right now than it was in the pandemic. The cost of food, produce and packaging has all gone up, but we’re still trying to operate as normal. It is very hard. It makes a huge difference when people shop local and is incredibly heart-warming, knowing that people are making the effort to shop local and support projects like ours. Buying sourdough bread from us, baked for taste and the health of the gut, you have the satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting arts projects in Ayr, breathing new life into our community, whilst giving unused buildings a new purpose.
“The disbursement of £495,000 through Scotland Loves Local South Ayrshire Gift Cards is a real positive for our community because that money has to be spent here in South Ayrshire. The gift card is a way that businesses in South Ayrshire can collaborate for the benefit of our region. Seeing other businesses as competition is a dated view, working together and being supportive is how we will help our communities to transform and thrive, keeping existing restaurants, cafés and food places open in South Ayrshire, and making it possible for new ones to open too.”