After a tough year, Central Coast residents are being encouraged to support surrounding businesses by buying local this Christmas.
The community gift card program, Why Leave Town, is one program helping to do this with all the money loaded onto the cards to be spent on participating businesses in the area.
They are calling on Central Coast businesses sign up to their program.
The program uses the existing EFTPOS network, meaning there is no additional hardware or software needed for a small business to take part.
Why Leave Town founder, Ashley Watt, said the trend of spending locally has increased exponentially with COVID-19 restrictions making communities and businesses reliant on the support of their local customers.
“Our first community gift card program launched in Narrabri in 2010 but has since expanded across Australia,” Watt said.
“We’ve noticed interest shifting more towards local thinking over the last few years, but over the last 12 months, it’s just gone through the roof.
“We’ve signed up more than 25 new programs in the last year alone.
“Located all across Australia, we’re doing our best to help communities who are recovering from the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
“We’ve loaded up some record numbers in the last month.
“Compared to this time last year, community gift card sales around Australia have almost doubled.”
Watt said the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has predicted Australians will tap, swipe and cash-in more than $48.1B during the Christmas holiday period.
“It’s often said that $100 spent locally will have a $180 impact on the local community, as it helps employ staff and cycle around,” Watt said.
“Small businesses everywhere have taken a hit with restrictions.
“It’s really important if we want them around for their service and support, we give them as much support this Christmas as possible.”
Another program encouraging Central Coast residents to buy products made in Australia is Aussie Helpers.
They create and sell hampers of essential goods from Australian farmers to assist farming families who are facing the very real prospect of skipping Christmas due to financial stress.
Aussie Helpers CEO, Tash Kocks, said this year had proven to be one of the most gruelling for farmers already struggling to make ends meet.
“Aussie farmers have battled seasonal labour shortages, volatile commodity prices, international trade tensions and recession all the while recovering from devastating bushfires and one of the longest droughts in living memory,” Kocks said.
“Farmers keep our fridges and pantries full but sometimes struggle to feed themselves.
“It’s heartbreaking the dire reality of their situations.
“At Aussie Helpers, every dollar and every hour volunteered helps Aussie farmers in need.
“By purchasing a hamper this year, you’re giving farmers more than just groceries and treats.
“You’re also telling them they are important and valued.”
Hampers are available at $50 and $100 and can be purchased at aussiehelpers.org.au.
Businesses can register to the Why Leave Town program at www.whyleavetown.com
Media release, Nov 26
Media release, Dec 8
Why Leave Town