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“Choice and dignity go hand in hand. As a person who is struggling, it is crippling to be told that you can only have this or only shop there.”

The Scotland Loves Local Moray Gift Card can be spent with over 240 businesses in Moray. In 2023, Moray School Bank began accepting donations of remaining Moray Gift Card balances to help the charity buy school uniform and basic household essentials to the families it supports. It also switched from Asda vouchers to the Moray Gift Card to distribute funds.

Debi Weir is the Development Manager at Moray School Bank and said that in the cost of living crisis, demand for their services has rocketed:

“We are a charity that provides school uniform to kids in poverty. In 2023, we started working with the Moray Gift Card, encouraging people to consider donating any leftover balance on their Moray Gift Card to us, even just £1 or £2, so we can help the families in our community who need it most.

“Moray School Bank has Collection Bins in the community, some which accept new donations of school clothing, and some which accept ‘as new’ items. Now, the community is also able to drop off their Moray Gift Card with any remaining balance at our Collection Points, or to our office. People can find out more information about our Collection Points on our website, or message us on Facebook.

“We sometimes get funding for food to help our families and in the past we’ve used vouchers for a major supermarket, but the Moray Gift Card offers families more choice, so they can shop where they usually shop. The reality is that most of our families want to shop at the low cost retailers. If you’re on a very tight budget, you know exactly what you have to spend to get what you need at the place where you regularly shop. And, if you’re given a voucher for an unfamiliar store, it can throw everything off.

“Distance is also an issue. If you give a family a voucher for a specific store, there might not be one that is close enough to where they live. There are lots of rural options with the Moray Gift Card, including Scotmid stores, so they can go to a shop that is local to them.

“Choice and dignity go hand in hand. As a person who is struggling, it is crippling to be told that you can only have this or only shop there. In the past, we’ve not been able to offer choice with our food support and we are thrilled that we now can thanks to the Moray Gift Card.

“Some children might only eat certain things, so a food hamper isn’t always the most helpful thing as it might contain lots of items that the children won’t eat. The Moray Gift Card is genuinely helpful because the family can pick what is right for them.

“We work on the same principle when it comes to helping families with uniform, letting the children pick their shoes or bag. It’s not up to us to say ‘that’s what you get’ because we’re all different and what’s right for one child isn’t right for another.

“We’ll be using the Moray Gift Card as and when they are required, loading up a card with value ready for the family to spend. Families can also use the gift card to top up their fuel meter.

“Another reason that we’re choosing to use the Moray Gift Card to distribute any funding we receive is that we’re a community charity. Communities are not just people, they are also businesses, and it is really important that we support our community who in turn support us. This is more than a token gesture, it will offer genuine, useful and appreciated support for families in our need.”