Employers across the North-east are being urged to support the local economic recovery and shop local by rewarding staff and loyal customers with an Aberdeen Gift Card for Christmas this year.

Since it was launched last year, more than £200,000 has been retained in the local economy through sales of the gift card.

The Aberdeen Gift Card can be redeemed at more than 200 businesses in Aberdeen city, including independent and national traders such as Marks & Spencer, Primark, Finnie’s, Jamieson & Carry, Chaophraya and many more.

It is available for employers to buy from £10 to £500 and recipients can use the card like currency, either in one transaction or across several, choosing from a huge range of retail, hospitality, services and leisure outlets.

Each Aberdeen Gift Card is a prepaid Mastercard which is valid for 12 months from purchase, offering employers a secure way to gift. Cards can also be purchased online and delivered straight to the recipient.

Employers can place bulk orders of the gift card directly with Aberdeen Inspired.

Businesses in the area who reward staff with the Aberdeen Gift Card can take advantage of the UK trivial benefits scheme, with cashless benefits of up to £50 qualifying for tax relief.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired said: “The Aberdeen Gift Card is a socially conscious choice for employers wanting to support Aberdeen while also giving their staff a reward they will appreciate and can enjoy spending in our shops, restaurants, bars and other outlets.

“The pandemic has changed the way we live and many people really embraced their local area, going out of their way to support local businesses, local people and local jobs.

“It’s also a great gift for local businesses themselves at a time when it is most needed, with the positive knock-on effect of buying or giving of gift cards from people in Aberdeen, the wider north-east and further afield. A voluntary organisation might also want to say thank you to volunteers with a gift card or companies might use the gift card to give to their clients as well as staff.

“Despite the challenges the High Street has faced in 2021, we have a fantastic range of retail and hospitality on offer and the Aberdeen Gift Card is a great way to get behind it, show support and back Aberdeen city centre.”

Recent figures (August 2021), show that 42.3% of 35-54 year olds purchased a gift card as a present specifically to support local businesses.

Among the local businesses which has already purchased gift cards for staff is Aberdeen-based recruitment agency TMM.

The recruitment specialist used the Aberdeen Gift Card as a festive thank you to staff last year. Chief executive Amanda McCulloch said it was a way to surprise everyone at the end of tough pandemic year: “Reward and recognition are an important part of the culture at TMM Recruitment.

“Usually at the end of the year we host a peer to peer awards event, to celebrate the year’s successes. As that couldn’t happen, we were searching for an alternative way to show our appreciation for the team’s hard work.

“This coincided with the launch of the Aberdeen Gift Card scheme and the growing urgency to shop local, support economic recovery and Aberdeen jobs at retailers and hospitality businesses. The team were delighted by the gesture and loved the scheme because of the community support aspect and the wide range of businesses where it could be redeemed. So it suited everyone, including those who chose to use the card to treat someone else.”

The Aberdeen Gift Card is part of the award-winning Town and City Gift Cards programme from payments provider Miconex.

More than 50 towns, cities and regions in the UK have Town and City Gift Card programmes with new schemes springing up around the UK and Ireland in response to the shop local movement.

Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex, added: “Increasingly, organisations are aligning their reward and incentive strategies with CSR. We’ve seen such a diverse range of use cases, from time bank initiatives in voluntary organisations to education providers using local gift cards as prizes for students.

“There are so many ways for organisations to use the Aberdeen Gift Card in new and innovative ways, encouraging staff to experience their leisure time more locally, and taking an active role in the prosperity of the local community.”

For more information and to buy the Aberdeen Gift Card, visit www.aberdeeninspired.com

Bulk orders can be made by emailing info@aberdeeninspired.com