The High Street Voucher scheme is here. Discussed since late last year, the scheme provides every individual over 18 living in Northern Ireland with a £100 voucher to spend in stores or local businesses across our communities.
The much-anticipated scheme is aimed to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our local economy, stimulating growth and consumer expenditure.
We at VIable are delighted to see the scheme launching and hope that it will drive much-needed business across our communities. Moreover, we hope that people will see this as an opportunity to not only support local, but use the High Street Voucher Scheme and #BuySocial.
Read on to learn more about the scheme, including how to apply, when you can expect to receive it, when you have to spend it buy, and most importantly, how you can use your voucher to support 3rd Sector Organisations.
How to apply?
To apply online, you must visit the NI Direct page, and complete the form that can be accessed on this link.
After completing that form, you will receive an e-mail confirmation. Thereafter, another e-mail will be issued a few hours later, prompting you to complete an additional form. To apply here you must have:
- National Insurance number
- date of birth
- disability status (specifying if you have a visual impairment)
- email address (this will be pre-populated)
- telephone number
- driving licence number (this is optional but will help speed up the checking process)
After completion of that form, you have successfully applied for your voucher. Now, you must wait for the Department to process the application, and if successful, your voucher will be issued in the coming weeks.
If you are unable to apply through a website, you can apply via telephone line, although those services do not open until the 11th October.
When will I get my High Street Voucher?
The first cards are being issued on the 4th October. After that date, cards will be issued throughout the month, but may take up to 5 weeks to be processed and arrive.
The final date to apply for the voucher is the 25th October. After the 25th, all online portals and telephone lines will close to the public.
How long do I have to spend the High Street Voucher?
The voucher scheme only runs through October and November. After the 30th November, all remaining tender on the voucher will be null-in-void, and you will be unable to spend what is remaining.
You must spend all balance by the end of the 30th November.
You can spend your voucher at any premises that has a card reader. You must spend it in person, and the card must be physically used. For example, you cannot use the card to book online, or spend it on online shopping portals, even if that organisation has a local premise.
The scheme is encouraged to drive local business, and support the domestic market.
How can I use my High Street Voucher to support the 3rd Sector?
We would like to encourage individuals who can afford to to use their High Street Voucher to either #ShopLocal or #BuySocial.
The voucher can be used at any business that has a card machine. We would encourage you to visit local Social Enterprises, and contribute to #BuySocial where possible.
Moreover, if you are in a position where you can donate to a charity, consider contacting your local charity, and asking them if there is anything you can buy with the £100 voucher to support them. Whilst you cannot directly donate, you can still find ways to support or address the needs of the charity beyond donations.
You can find a full directory of Charities in Northern Ireland, filterable by location and cause on the charity commission website here.
What Social Enterprises can I support?
Northern Ireland is full of Social Enterprises that are for profit businesses, using their profit to then create positive social change in society. These organisations may channel their profits in to charities, or causes in the community that create positive social impact.
We’ve included a list of Social Enterprises across Northern Ireland that may be accepting the £100 voucher, as well as their postal address. If you are a Social Enterprise, and you want to be added to this list, contact email@example.com.
- Loaf Catering – 308, 307 Grosvenor Rd, Belfast BT12 4LP
- Bolster Community – Unit 1 Whitegates Business Park, Newry BT35 6UA
- Better Gym – 14A Hi-Park Rear Unit Church Lane Belfast Antrim BT1 4QN
- Fox & Bean Café – The Torrent Complex, Dungannon BT70 3DL
- Glow NI – 143 Northumberland St, Belfast BT13 2JF
- Orchardville – 144 Ravenhill Rd, Belfast BT6 8ED
- Big Loop Bikes – University Rd, Belfast BT7 1NN
- IncredABLE Café – Jethro Centre, 6 Flush Pl, Lurgan, Craigavon BT66 7DT
- Ortus Group – 155 Northumberland St, Belfast BT13 2JF
- Highway Inn & Bar, Resurgam – 8 Hillhall Rd, Antrim, Lisburn BT27 5BU
- Stepping Stones NI – 3 Wallace Ave, Lisburn BT27 4AA
- USEL Ability Café – Belfast Zoo, Stables at Lady Dixon Park, Foundry Cafe, Spectrum Centre
- NOW Group – 15-17 Grosvenor Rd, Belfast BT12 4GN
- Refuge Chocolate – Available in locations around Belfast.
Whilst we are not accepting the voucher, we offer back-office services to Social Enterprises, Charities and SMEs across the United Kingdom. If you are in need of support, please feel free to learn more about our services portfolio here, or contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.