The campaign, which is aimed at supporting town centre recovery and encouraging people to shop locally has been such a success that plans are already in place to extend it for a further two years.
Support for local businesses
Argyll and Bute Council is helping to deliver funding from Scotland Town’s Partnership (STP) and the Scottish Government, across a range of measures designed to boost the local economy and support employment.
Through the Scottish Government’s Place-Based Investment Fund and Town Centre Fund, the council has funded over 120 shopfront improvement grants to business owners to help support towns and rural areas.
To further support the nation-wide Scotland Loves Local campaign, the council launched the Argyll and Bute Gift Card at the end of 2021. The scheme now has nearly 300 participating businesses signed up where recipients can use the card.
To help with cost of living challenges, in December 2022, the council issued gift cards to 6,800 low-income households. This has resulted in a total local spend of over £613,000 across a range of businesses. More recently, the council has issued an additional 1,244 cards worth just under £150,000 to help support rising costs to island communities.
Free marketing support
The council provided a range of tools and training to help business owners and encourage local spending. They included:
- Free digital training to increase online search rankings
- Free professional photography for business promotion
- A series of promotional films featuring local ambassadors
- Free bespoke local Shop Local toolkit featuring messaging, posters, banners and social media materials
Ongoing economic recovery
Councillor Alastair Redman, Policy Lead, Economic Growth and Communities, said: “The Council is committed to exploring a range of initiatives to boost the local economy and assist our communities as we emerge from the challenges of the last couple of years.
“The Scotland Loves Local scheme has been invaluable in providing a great incentive to support our fantastic businesses by spending locally.
“The response from both businesses and residents to the Gift Card scheme has been particularly encouraging and provides a real boost to the local economy.”
The Scotland Loves Local Argyll and Bute gift card - https://scotlandgiftslocal.com/product/argyll-bute-gift-card/