A new gift card is being launched to encourage people to spend their money in and around Ipswich in shops, pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues.

The card has been brought in by All About Ipswich, the marketing company for the town centre, and is backed by independent traders and some large chains that operate in Ipswich.

Among the places it can be used are Marks and Spencer, the Regent Theatre, the Empire Cinema, Coes, Wagamama, Music World, Loveone gift shop, Applaud Coffee Shop and the Cult Cafe.

East Anglian Daily Times: Cathy Frost at Loveone is accepting the new Ipswich Gift CardCathy Frost at Loveone is accepting the new Ipswich Gift Card (Image: All About Ipswich)

The gift cards can be loaded with anything from £5 to £500 then sent as a gift. They can be downloaded to phones or emailed to the recipient, then added to digital wallet apps such as Apply Pay and Google Pay. People can also buy a physical card to send.

The scheme uses the Town & City Gift Cards platform, managed by UK fintech Miconex, who operate in more than 60 towns and cities across the UK.

The Ipswich Gift Card can only be redeemed in the town and is a local alternative to similar schemes operated by online retailers like Amazon or ASOS.

All About Ipswich hopes the scheme will be a welcome boost to the Ipswich high street and to local independent businesses.

The Ipswich Gift Card scheme is also the first step in implementing the Digital ‘Connected Town’ concept, improving digital connectivity between businesses and customers, and developing the digital capabilities of the town centre.

Jack Cripps from All About Ipswich said: “We’re really excited to be launching the scheme, particularly in the run-up to Christmas, as it will ensure more cash goes to the local economy and more people visit town to spend their gift.

"This will directly increase local footfall and spend. I would encourage as many people as possible to gift Ipswich this Christmas and give local businesses a welcome post-Christmas boost.”

“We’re continuously working with local businesses to help them join the scheme, so do keep an eye on the website for new places to spend the cards. We hope the scheme encourages visitors to try something new in Ipswich; a meal in a restaurant, tickets for a show or shopping in a local independent or a bit of everything!”