A NEW programme created to help kickstart the town’s financial fightback against the impact coronavirus has had on Barnsley’s high streets was launched this week.

The scheme - dubbed the Barnsley Gift Card - is now available to purchase and can be spent at a number of stores and restaurants across the borough, including a variety of market stalls.

They can be purchased with amounts ranging from £5 to £500 and spent in store up to 12 months after purchase.

Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, said: “The Barnsley Gift Card is a great way to encourage our residents to keep the local pound in the town by shopping here.

“We have a fantastic range of businesses already signed up, over 50 so far, and this is just the start.

“More businesses are being added weekly, and we fully expect to have over 100 businesses across the borough signed up next year.

“This is a great scheme that will help boost our local economy following the impact of coronavirus.

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“It’s no secret that businesses have been significantly impacted by the restrictions imposed by the government, even though we’ve done everything we can to support as many as possible and our footfall has remained strong since the first lockdown started to ease in June.”

The gift card is the latest example of the town’s efforts to boost the economy, following on from the ongoing £200m Glass Works town centre regeneration scheme.

This investment has helped boost Barnsley’s independent scene, with more than 25 bars and restaurants opening their doors since the announcement of the scheme in 2017.

Investment has also been made with businesses on High Streets across the borough in Cudworth, Goldthorpe, Penistone, Wombwell, Royston and Hoyland benefiting from a £5m fund to help revitalise shop fronts.

As well as this, a further £2m has been pledged from Historic England as part of the Heritage Action Zone project, matchfunded by the council, to help regenerate building on Eldon Street.

“Where other towns and cities are leaving their high streets to tick over, we’re choosing to invest and future proof ours through our £200m town centre regeneration, while work to revitalise shop fronts in our principal towns has seen £5m invested across the borough,” he added.

“It’s important to stress that this is just the one element of our response to the pandemic.

“We’re doing everything we can in terms of investment, schemes like the gift card and offering support to local businesses to ensure our high streets thrive in the future.”

You can now purchase the town’s gift card at www.barnsleygiftcard.com.