Middlesbrough's big name stores and independent businesses are being encouraged to sign up to the town's gift card scheme.
Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses across Middlesbrough can sign up to the scheme for free, as Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease.
It is hoped the Middlesbrough gift card will help support local businesses after months of closures due to Covid restrictions.
Operating in the same way as a regular store gift card, shoppers can purchase a card with a pre-loaded value that can be redeemed at any participating store.
The scheme is part of the UK and Ireland-wide Town and City Gift Card programme run by Scottish-based fintech Miconex.
It encourages people to support their high streets rather than spending online, which in turn helps to protect local businesses and jobs.
Middlesbrough Council signed up to the programme following the success of similar schemes in towns and cities across the UK and Ireland.
Mayor Andy Preston said: "I'm asking as many businesses as possible such as shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and salons in Middlesbrough to get on board with the Middlesbrough gift card.
"It's free to join and it could help your business get more trade at a crucial time.
"I recently met with Simon Fletcher, the owner of Baker Street Kitchen who has already signed up and is even offering a free tea or coffee with a meal if you use the card mid-week. Business is already booming there again thanks to their outdoor terrace - it's really great to see.
"We need to support local businesses now more than ever - we need to use them, or we'll lose them."
Colin Munro is the Managing Director of Miconex and commented:
"Over £1.9 million was spent through our local gift card programmes in 2020, helping to support local people, local jobs and local businesses. Now Middlesbrough has its own gift card, shopping locally and keeping money locked into the town is easier than ever.
"Customers will also be more adventurous when they receive a Middlesbrough Gift Card, trying out businesses they have never used.
"62% will spend more than the value of the gift card they receive, and 96% of those will spend an extra £50 on top. Being a part of the Middlesbrough Gift Card is a great way for businesses to gain new customers as well as a new revenue stream."
The gift card is part of the Council's ongoing commitment to support local business.
It has launched numerous campaigns to encourage people to buy local throughout the Covid pandemic, including the BuyBoro website and a partnership with Independent Teesside.
To sign up to the Middlesbrough gift card scheme as a business, or to purchase a card as a gift, visit the Middlesbrough Gift Card website.