Spend Local card: Over £9.3million spent in Mid and East Antrim thanks to scheme

The Spend Local card scheme resulted in over £9.3million being spent in Mid and East Antrim, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has said.

Economy Minister Gordons Lyons hailed the success of the Spend Local scheme.
Economy Minister Gordons Lyons hailed the success of the Spend Local scheme.

New data published this week shows that the High Street scheme brought almost 1.4million shoppers on to our high streets, where they made over 3.7million transactions.

The total spend in MEA was £9,333,776, with each postcode spending as follows: BT37 (Newtownabbey) £3,216,110; BT38 (Carrickfergus) £1,662,670; BT39 (Ballyclare) £1,348,145; BT40 (Larne) £1,473,343, and £653,116 in BT44 (The Glens).

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Speaking in the Assembly chamber on Monday, the Minister said the scheme injected at least £136.6m into the economy, leading to an improved level of consumer confidence and increased levels of public spending.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey.

Mr Lyons added: “The scheme has been a huge success and achieved exactly what it set out to do. It brought shoppers back on to the High Street and has helped and supported our local retail, hospitality and service sectors start their journey of recovery from the devastating impact of the pandemic.

Economic boost

“I am really pleased to announce that 1,399,051 people were issued with a Spend Local card, of which 1,393,043 – or 99.6% – were activated. This is a tremendous achievement. The scheme was designed to provide an economic boost to the local economy and to this end £136.6million has been injected into the economy.

“This can be clearly seen from the fact that nearly 1.4million customers visited our local shops, restaurants, bars, cafés, cinemas, hairdressers across all parts of Northern Ireland during the lifetime of the scheme and over 3.7million new transactions were made using the Spend Local card.

“Of course, we know that many of these customers will have spent more than the £100 on their Spend Local card. So the figure – in real terms – will be greater.”

The Minister told the Assembly that the early analysis showed the benefits of the scheme were enjoyed in all parts of Northern Ireland.

He said: “Over £27million was spent in Belfast, over £12million in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon while over £10million was spent in each of the following local council areas – Newry, Mourne and Down; Derry and Strabane; Antrim and Newtownabbey; Lisburn and Castlereagh; and Ards and North Down. In Mid and East Antrim, the figure was over £9million. In Causeway Coast and Glens and in Mid Ulster, more than £8million was spent, while the figure for Fermanagh and Omagh was just over £7.5million.”

'Unprecedented' task

MLAs heard how the scale of the task of delivering the High Street scheme was unprecedented as, in a matter of weeks, the Department implemented a process which manufactured, dispatched and delivered cards to close to 1.4million people – each card unique to each applicant, including bespoke embossed cards for the visually impaired and blind.

The Minister told MLAs: “The effort was worth it. I am sure that Members will have heard the same positive messages that I have heard from businesses, but it has also been confirmed by independent analysis.”

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey said: “The High Street scheme provided a critical boost to our businesses which suffered so much as a result of the pandemic.

“Our council has been at the forefront of efforts to help them and we are delighted the figures show that our residents got right behind Mid and East Antrim businesses.

“As we move through recovery, our council continues to offer its full support to our business community and - as the figures show – our residents will be right behind them too. Many of our businesses are run by people we know well, friends and family members, and they provide vital services to our community. I thank them for all that they do, and encourage everybody to keep shopping local, and take advantage of our ShopMEA app.”

The ShopMEA app is available to the public and offers the best and most exclusive deals, rewards and events from the large network of local retailers and service providers from across the area’s three town centres - Larne, Carrickfergus and Ballymena.

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