Community gift card program aims to keep Upper Hunter towns thriving during drought

ENCOURAGING people to shop locally and boosting the Upper Hunter economy is the aim of a new community gift card program set to be rolled out in the coming weeks.

The We Live Here cards, which can only be redeemed at participating local businesses, have been sponsored by Upper Hunter Shire Council through program administrator Why Leave Town Promotions based in Narrabri.

The cards can be loaded with funds from $10 to $1000 and then act as an EFTPOS card, operating at no cost to the business or consumer.

Upper Hunter Shire Council Drought Relief Coordinator Amanda Riordan addressed the Scone Country Women’s Association’s monthly meeting on Friday about the roll out of the cards, which will also give local charities a channel to load funds on to as they cope with large volumes of drought aid donations. 

WE LIVE HERE: A new community gift card program will give local charities a channel to donate to those in need as they cope with a large volume of cash funds during the current drought. Scone CWA members Sue Lewis, Lyn Tout and Lorraine Gardiner with UHSC Drought Relief Coordinator Amanda Riordan and Scone CWA's Carolyn Carter and Anne McPhee on Friday.

WE LIVE HERE: A new community gift card program will give local charities a channel to donate to those in need as they cope with a large volume of cash funds during the current drought. Scone CWA members Sue Lewis, Lyn Tout and Lorraine Gardiner with UHSC Drought Relief Coordinator Amanda Riordan and Scone CWA's Carolyn Carter and Anne McPhee on Friday.

“The program started with the company Why Leave Town in Narrabri in 2007 and there are already more than 20 councils or chambers that currently use it successfully,” she said.

“They have previously looked at it is a buy local option for people to try and generate their economy.

“The drought platform gave me an option to go in quite quickly, due to the urgency behind it.

“The gift cards, which are like cash will allow charities to give gifts that allow people to shop with dignity and the branding is all about investment, not about charity. 

“So we can actually change that mentality of taking assistance and that we’re investing back in our farmers.”

The plastic cards have been designed with “We Live Here, Why Leave Town” branding to promote local investment.

While the cards will provide an easy gift-giving alternative that also helps local businesses, organisers also see huge value in using the cards on a larger scale such as the capacity to track at which businesses gift cards are redeemed and monthly spend reports to business to track their promotions.

Purchasers can check card balances online or by phone, and registered cards can be replaced if lost. 

The cards should hit the streets in the coming months as organisers work to get businesses on board.

For more information contact Upper Hunter Shire Council on 65401100

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