Economy gains £40,000 boost from Sunderland City Gift Card scheme

The pioneering Sunderland City Gift Card is proving a huge success – giving the local economy a £40,000 boost within weeks of it launching.

Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 2:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 2:56 pm

The card scheme, the result of a partnership between Sunderland BID and Sunderland City Council, saw more than 100 businesses sign up to accept it initially, a number which continues to grow.

It’s aimed at supporting local business while allowing recipients to redeem the cards at a wide range of venues, from retail and hotel stays to meals out, entertainment and hair and beauty treatments. The gift cards are valid for 12 months and can help sustain the local economy while also being a handy Christmas gift.

So far, 1700 cards have already been sold, to a mix of individuals and companies which are choosing to use them to reward staff and customers.

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The Sunderland Gift Card scheme has proved a hit

Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID, said the response had been overwhelming – from both companies and the public.

“We’ve been thrilled not only by the number of businesses which have signed up to accept the card but also by the variety,” she said.

Nicola Collinson from The Looking Glass in Sunniside, one of the city businesses which are part of the gift card scheme.

“That means that the recipient will have a huge choice of places to spend it. We have everyone from high street retailers to Sunderland’s unique independents on board as well as everyone from restaurants to hotels, so there really is something for everyone.”

Sharon also thanked companies in the city which have chosen to buy the cards as a reward for staff.

“We are constantly promoting the shop local message and this is something that people have taken to heart,” said Sharon.

“And the gift card is really easy to do just that.”

Lush is also taking part

The cards can be accepted anywhere that takes Mastercard and can be purchased for amounts between £5 and £500 online at and then selecting Sunderland.

Any business wanting to sign up should contact [email protected]

The Sunderland Gift Card is part of the Reopening High Streets Safely project, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

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