Spend Vouchers Locally Says NMDDC Chair

Spend Vouchers Locally Says NMDDC Chair

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NMDDC Chair urges people to ‘Make It Local’ as NI voucher scheme launches.

Cllr Cathy Mason, the Chairperson of Newry Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC) has urged people to apply for the Northern Ireland High Street voucher scheme to help support and promote local businesses across the district.

The High Street voucher scheme is now open for registration with the first cards being issued at the beginning of October.

The £145m programme will offer pre-paid cards worth £100 to all over-18s and aims to help those businesses in retail and hospitality which were impacted by the pandemic.

NMDDC recently launched a new campaign promoting the Council’s ‘Make It Local’ message to help relaunch the unique business offering that the district boasts, as well as stimulate the entrepreneurial resilience of Newry Mourne and Down.

Cllr Cathy Mason, Chairperson of Newry Mourne and Down District Council with Darren Kearney, Proprietor, Oakley Fayre in Downpatrick. (Photo courtesy of NMDDC).

NMDDC’s Chairperson Cllr Cathy Mason said: “This campaign not only shines a light on the key sectors represented across the district but also highlights how businesses here have worked hard to establish a safe shopping practice in light of Covid-19 regulations. 

“It has been a particularly difficult period for our local traders and the voucher scheme is a great initiative that has come at an ideal time as we approach the winter holiday season. The initiative will help boost our local businesses following the drop in footfall and reduced trade brought about by the pandemic.

“Our message is clear; Newry, Mourne and Down is open for business. Our local businesses are outstanding, diverse and resilient. Now is the time to step up and support them by making it local. I would strongly encourage people from within the district to avail of the voucher and shop locally.”

Downpatrick businessman Darren Kearney, who is the owner of Oakley Fayre in Downpatrick, added: “We are so pleased to be open to near full capacity again, which has only been made possible with the support of our staff and loyal customers.

“This has been a difficult time for many industries and the hospitality industry has been hit very hard, so we welcome any incentive or investment scheme that will help bring people onto their local high street. 

“Supporting local gives back to the small, family-run businesses that are the foundation of the Northern Ireland economy.”

Retail NI Says Be Patient With The Voucher Scheme

With the application process opening tomorrow for the High Street Voucher scheme, Retail NI has urged shoppers to consider making their application later in the week to avoid a rush on the first day and to reduce pressure on the online portal.

Retail NI Chief Executive, Glyn Roberts said: “If people can wait a few days before making their application, hopefully we can avoid any delays or problems with a rush on the online portal and they will receive their voucher on a timely basis”

“With a scheme of this ambition and size we are bound to experience some problems and would urge shoppers to be patient”

“As the scheme opens and consumers are thinking about how to spend their voucher, we would strongly encourage them to use with local independent retailers. 70p in every £1 pound spent with an independent retailer is recycled around the economy, supporting local producers and manufacturers”