The Wight Gift Card went live on the 4th November. The Wight Gift Card is integral to the Isle of Wight’s post covid recovery strategy, in a bid to encourage residents and visitors to shop locally and keep spend on the island.
Working like a local currency, the Wight Gift Card is a pre-paid Mastercard that can be redeemed at registered businesses on the Isle of Wight and follows on from recent shop local initiatives on the Island such as Fiver Fest and Let’s Buy Local. The Wight Gift Card is available for customers to purchase now with delivery from the 24th November.
Chris Ashman, director of regeneration at the Isle of Wight Council said the introduction of the Wight Gift Card was an opportunity to build on the shop local trend that is developing on the Island:
“The shop local sentiment that has been building through schemes like Let’s Buy Local is one we want to develop. There is a very strong sense of identity on the Island, and with the Wight Gift Card, we are giving residents an opportunity to express their support for where they are from. Instead of purchasing a product on Amazon, we’re asking people to consider buying it on the Island instead. It’s something that everyone can participate in and will have an enormous impact on our ability to regenerate as an Island.
“I’ll often explain it to people with the leaky bucket theory. 30% of local expenditure on the Island will make its way out of the local economy. If we can plug that leak, then it means more money in the local economy. Our ambition is to reduce the money leaking out of the Isle of Wight to 20% through the Wight Gift Card in a year.”
“The idea of being able to connect our businesses was a primary driver for the introduction of the Wight Gift Card. When a person receives a Wight Gift Card, they can spend it with any of the businesses registered, which means more exposure for the range and quality of goods and service on our Island. It’s another revenue stream for businesses. This project is about businesses and individuals working together with a renewed sense of pride in what we have to offer here on the Isle of Wight.”
Technology for the gift card is provided by Scottish fintech Miconex through its Town and City Gift Cards scheme, active in over 50 towns and cities around the UK and Ireland. Other places launching new Town and City Gift Cards at a similar time to the Isle of Wight include Drogheda and Ballinrobe in Ireland, Barnsley, Canterbury, Preston, Chester, Knowsley, Bury St. Edmunds, Scarborough, Sunderland and Tavistock in England, Antrim in Northern Ireland and Falkirk, Kirkcaldy, Aberdeen and rural Scotland.
Miconex’s Town and City Gift Cards programme picked up the award for best use of prepaid at the Incentive Awards in September. Over £1.5m has been spent through Town and City Gift Cards since 2015.
WightFibre's chief executive John Irvine said: “WightFibre is delighted to join forces with the Isle of Wight Council to launch the Island’s Wight Gift Card.
"In this very difficult year of the COVID-19 pandemic it is even more important for us all to support Island businesses. As an Island business ourselves, WightFibre is happy to do our little bit to help and to make it easier for Islanders to keep their spend on the Island."
Bob Seely MP said: “This is a great, innovative way of supporting Island businesses through a difficult time. Now more than ever the Island needs to support its local businesses, and this is a great way to do so. Not only will the card provide a gift idea but it also keeps money within the local economy. The Wight Gift Card gives us the opportunity to support our local businesses and economy but also to rediscover and make the most of some of the amazing produce we have here. It’s another example of the Island coming together and finding community solutions that work. Let’s think local and celebrate what the Island has to offer.”
Managing director of Miconex Colin Munro said the Wight Gift Card will enable businesses to attract new customers:
“Data from other towns and cities shows us that recipients of a gift card spend 65% more than the value of the card, and are more experimental. As we approach the key Christmas trading period, a Wight Gift Card purchased is money locked into the Isle of Wight. Most cards purchased for Christmas will be spent in January, February and March, which is usually a very quiet time for merchants.”