CHRISTMAS doesn’t have to cost the earth. With the help of the annual retail discount voucher scheme for Newtownards, run by Ards Borough Council and Newtownards Chamber of Trade, it could work out a lot cheaper to shop in Ards. [caption id="attachment_44521" align="alignleft" width="279"] Promoting the Christmas discount shopping booklet produced for Newtownards are: (L-R) Heather Lavery, Sheldon Galleries, Chris Tedford, Molly Brown’s, Mayor of Ards, Councillor Stephen McIlveen and Leigh Nelson, Specsavers and President of the Chamber of Trade.[/caption] Designed to encourage shoppers to visit and spend in their local town centre this Christmas, the voucher booklet contains money off coupons and special offers from 78 different retailers in the town, including fashion outlets, restaurants, cafes, takeaways, opticians, hair and beauty salons, sports, craft, and interior design shops. The number of retailers offering discounts has grown steadily and has been welcomed by Mayor of Ards, Councillor Stephen McIlveen: “The voucher booklets have been very successful over the past number of years and the Council is delighted that even more retailers have signed up to take part this Christmas. The scheme boasts benefits for shoppers and retailers alike during these challenging economic times, offering money off Christmas shopping, which we all know can be costly, as well as encouraging trade in the town centre. “I’m very pleased that the positive partnership between the Council and our local traders continues and hope to see more people use the booklets to pick up a bargain, and help reduce the cost of their Christmas shopping”. Voucher booklets were first introduced back in 2008, when the Chamber of Trade and the Council began a campaign to promote the town as a prime shopping destination to encourage both new and existing shoppers to visit the town centre. The 2013 Christmas Voucher Booklets are being delivered to local homes and can also be picked up at participating retailers and from the Council offices.