Barnsley Council Leads the Way for Regional Covid-19 Recovery Ahead of Christmas

Council launches gift card to support local economy, as development of £200m town centre regeneration continues

Barnsley Council is leading the way for regional Covid recovery and kickstarting its comeback with the Barnsley Gift Card to help boost the local economy and support the town’s independents this Christmas. 

The gift card can be loaded up with values ranging from £5 to £500 and can be used over the next 12 months at over 50 retailers, restaurants, and attractions across the borough. These include the local branches of Boots and The Entertainer, as well as various traders within the town’s iconic market and independent retailers on high streets around the Barnsley borough. It is available to purchase online at www.barnsleygiftcard.com.

The council has teamed up with the Town and City Gift Card programme from Scottish fintech company Miconex, for this nationwide initiative. Data released by the Town and City Gift Cards programme shows that consumers spend an average value of £34.56 when they buy a gift card. Also, when redeeming Town and City Gift Cards, Miconex report that recipients spend on average 40 per cent more than the value of the gift card received.

The Gift Card and Voucher Association valued the UK gift card market at £7 billion in 2019 and that 98.6 per cent of gift cards are spent within a year of being received. In total, over £1.5 million has been spent through Town and City Gift Cards since the programme’s launch in 2015.

Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, said: “The Barnsley Gift Card is a great way to encourage our residents to keep the pound in Barnsley by shopping locally. More businesses are being added weekly, and we fully expect to have over 100 businesses across the borough signed up next year.

“This is a fantastic scheme that will help boost our local economy following the impact of coronavirus. It’s no secret that businesses have been significantly impacted by the restrictions imposed by the government, even though we’ve done everything we can to support as many local businesses as possible and our footfall has remained strong since the first lockdown started to ease in June.”

Barnsley Council is also driving forward the economic recovery of the borough through The Glass Works development in Barnsley town centre, which began in 2017.

This £200 million investment is part of a major council-led plan being delivered alongside specialist development company Queensberry, to regenerate the town and will feature up to 25 new shops, seven new family restaurants, a bowling alley, laser quest experience, soft play centre and a 13 screen Cineworld cinema featuring large-scale IMAX and interactive 4DX screens. It is due to open next year.

The centre is now 60 per cent let a year ahead of launch, with Deichmann being the latest store to sign up to the scheme. A revamped public square with an attractive water feature and a multi-story car park also form part of the development, with several big-name brands already signed up including Next, Sports Direct alongside fashion arm USC, JD Sports, TK Maxx, local independent restaurant MEET and Nando’s.

Phase 1 of the project is already complete which has seen the opening of a thriving new market, state of the art Library @ the Lightbox and Market Kitchen.

Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council, added: “We’re in a better position than most in terms of our high street, particularly in our town centre, which is growing as our multi-million-pound regeneration and The Glass Works project continue to progress.

“Where other towns and cities are leaving their high streets to tick over, we’re choosing to invest and future proof ours through our £200 million town centre regeneration, while work to revitalise shop fronts in our principal towns has seen £5 million invested across the borough.

“It’s important to stress that this is just the one element of our response to the pandemic. We’re doing everything we can in terms of investment, schemes like the gift card and offering support to local businesses to ensure our high streets thrive in the future.”

Once completed The Glass Works will cover almost four hectares. The name reflects Barnsley’s heritage and history playing home to major glass manufacturing which made a major contribution to the town’s economy in the past.

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