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NI high street voucher scheme bringing shoppers back to local business, say retailers

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Belfast City centre shopping on the run up to Christmas and the Black Friday deals. (Picture by Colm O'Reilly for Belfast Telegraph)

Belfast City centre shopping on the run up to Christmas and the Black Friday deals. (Picture by Colm O'Reilly for Belfast Telegraph)

Belfast City centre shopping on the run up to Christmas and the Black Friday deals. (Picture by Colm O'Reilly for Belfast Telegraph)

The high street voucher scheme has brought much-needed footfall back to Northern Ireland’s town centres, business leaders have said.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said its positive impact was being felt across industry.

The £100 voucher was offered to all those aged over 18 in Northern Ireland to spend locally.

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council Councillor Paul McLean said the scheme had been very well-received with many businesses developing creative offerings to encourage people to spend the voucher in their outlets.

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He said: "The scheme has also brought much needed footfall back into our town centres following a very challenging period.”

Minister Gordon Lyons urged anyone with money still on their card to spend it. 

He added that shoppers can further support businesses by wearing a mask, social distancing and using contactless payment where possible.

"It is vital that this money is injected back into our local economy,” he said. 

Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts welcomed the extension of the scheme date to December 14 and said he has received positive feedback from their members.

"Clearly shoppers have responded to the calls to support their small traders and we hope this will continue," he said.

“The high street scheme is an invaluable short term boost for thousands of local independent retailers and we hope to see this support continue beyond the lifetime of the scheme.”

The chair of Enniskillen Business Improvement District (BID), Noelle McAloon, said the scheme has boosted the local economy.

“This scheme was to re-invigorate our towns and from our viewpoint we wanted people to re-engage with their high street.

"Enniskillen BID is excited that the scheme will re-introduce consumers to the benefit of the high level of customer service, care and experience offered on our high street."

She added: “We have worked hard to promote the spend local message and we see that it is having a positive impact on footfall and spend. In Enniskillen there are high levels of spending still to be enjoyed from the scheme and our businesses are looking forward to another very busy few weeks before the deadline.”

Cardholders can check their balance, view transaction history, terms and conditions or find answers to frequently asked questions relating to the cards by visiting: https://clients.prepaidfinancialservices.com/nistimulus/login.aspx 


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