A GIFT card specifically for Minehead has been given the go-ahead.

After Minehead was awarded £100,000 by Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) to help with town centre recovery plans.

The gift card will be available to buy online from April, and all business across Minehead are eligible to take part in the programme.

Each gift card works like a regular store gift card, but can be spent at participating businesses across the whole of Minehead, keeping money locked into the town and making local shopping simple for both residents and tourists.

The Minehead Gift Card is the latest initiative from the steering group set up by Minehead Business Improvement District (BID).

The steering group is made up of local business owners and leaders from Minehead Town Council, Somerset West and Taunton and Somerset County Council.

Julian Abraham, owner of Old Ship Aground, is Chair of the Steering Group and said the new Minehead Gift Card is vital for businesses in the town who have endured a third national lockdown.

“The impact of the latest lockdown has been catastrophic for businesses in Minehead,” she said.

“As a seaside town with a reliance on tourism, that income was decimated last year.

“Traders clawed back what they could in the summer last year, and the community has really shown their support by shopping local, but the reality is that most businesses are treading water and desperately need help.

“The loneliness as a business owner, trying to cope with the constant lockdowns is beyond belief.

“The fact that there is help coming for the beleaguered local trader with the new Minehead Gift Card will be such a relief to business owners, knowing that people care, and are driving impactful projects for the town.

“Having the Minehead Gift Card will be like having our own local currency. Cards get bought and then spent locally, supporting local businesses and local jobs. As we prepare to open up after this third lockdown, this is the ideal time for businesses to join the scheme.”

Andrew Hopkins, Minehead BID manager said the BID first started looking at a local gift card 18 months ago.

“We have a high proportion of independent businesses in Minehead so our town hasn’t been as impacted by the demise of national retailers as some places have," he added.

"Because of this, occupancy rates in the town are higher than average.

"That said, it’s imperative that we give our businesses as much support as possible as we emerge from this third lockdown.

“The Emergency Town Centre Recovery Fund allocation means we can open the Minehead Gift Card scheme out to all businesses in Minehead, not just those in the town centre.

"It is free for businesses to join the scheme and offers them a new revenue stream when people pay with the gift card. No additional equipment is needed either. It’s very simple for traders and for customers that will use the card too."

The Minehead Gift Card is part of the Town and City Gift Cards programme from fintech Miconex.

Businesses can register for the gift card by contacting Richard Robbins by emailing info@mineheadbid.co.uk