BUSINESSES are encouraged to sign up for the city's first ever Salisbury gift card.

Shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and shops can sign up for the Salisbury Gift Card, which aims to encourage people to shop and spend locally.

The gift card, an initiative from Salisbury Business Improvement District (BID) works in the same way as a usual gift card, and can be bought in amounts ranging from £10 to £500.

It is set to launch next month, and can be used at participating retailers, restaurants, pubs, cafes, hotels and tourist attractions.

Key sectors will include retail, leisure, health and beauty and entertainment.

BID chief executive Robin McGowan said: “This is an excellent initiative to keep spend in the city and support our businesses. The product is a huge success in other cities across the country and has so far been very well received by Salisbury businesses.”

“We have a superb offering in Salisbury and the BID is doing all it can to help us regain momentum after recent events.”

Salisbury BID is also encouraging employers within easy reach of Salisbury to consider offering it to their workforces as an employee incentive or reward.

Susi Mason, owner of independent High Street shop Casa Fina, a specialist in lighting, home and fashion accessories, and a BID director, said: “There is no more direct way to boost shopping activity in the city than with a Salisbury-wide gift card.

“This is a fantastic innovation to show support for local businesses while giving the card holder complete choice in how they spend the amount gifted.”

The initiative is completely free to Salisbury BID members, but businesses must register to participate and already have a card payment facility.

Sign-up is triggered by a BID representative swiping an initial gift card through a payment machine. Branded window stickers are available to highlight involvement.

Registration of businesses is under way now and consumers will be able to purchase the card online in June at or at selected sales points in the city.