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Voucher scheme to support businesses

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AN online initiative has been launched aimed at supporting local independent businesses during the Covid-19 crisis.

Oliver Ashton and Chloe Harman (27872507)

Titled Give to Get Project, the ‘online anti-viral movement’ involves Islanders choosing their three favourite local businesses – whether shops, cafés, restaurants or otherwise – and then buying a voucher from each which can then be redeemed once the crisis is over.

The project is the brainchild of Oliver Ashton, Chloe Harman and Carl Huelin, who jointly run the Off the Rails restaurant in St Brelade.

‘Give to Get is a non-profit project that enables Islanders to support their favourite small local businesses during the crisis,’ said Mr Ashton. ‘It also provides businesses with the knowledge and tech to quickly and simply install a voucher system on their website or Facebook page.’

The project initially came about after a customer contacted the Off the Rails team by email and asked: ‘I’d like to support local businesses at this time but would rather not get a takeaway delivered. Is it possible to purchase vouchers online for later use?’

‘This gave us the idea for Give to Get,’ said Mr Ashton. ‘Due to the lockdown, many Islanders simply aren’t able to visit shops or restaurants right now. But when this is all over, people don’t want to find out that their favourite local businesses have closed down. This project is a way to help ensure that doesn’t happen.’

Among the businesses taking part in the project is Ouaisné-based beach café Kismet Cabana, whose manager Summer Lister said: ‘The Give to Get Project came at a critical time for us.

‘We were heartbroken to have had to close our doors but, with our loyal customers wanting to support us, having a voucher system in place means they can choose to inject some hope into our future. I think we are all realising just how fragile and important our community can be and how one person’s act of kindness can make the world of difference.’

The cost of a voucher can be anything from £10 to £100 and all local businesses are able to sign up to the scheme, with Mr Ashton encouraging Islanders to mention the project to their favourite businesses if they are not already taking part.

‘We have set up an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide for local businesses to sign up to the project on the website,’ he said. ‘These are businesses that add colour and life to our local communities and that make all of our lives better, so let’s show them our support at this difficult time.’

For more details on the Give to Get Project, or to register, visit givetogetproject.com.

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