ILKLEY businesses are working together to promote the advantages of shopping locally.

Liz Blizzard, director of The Valley Clinic, in Valley Drive, Ilkley, has come up with a new, cost free scheme to enable the town's businesses to promote each other whilst rewarding their customers.

She has created the Vantage Loyalty Card, which is given free to all the clinic’s customers to allow them access to special deals at participating businesses. There is no cost to the partnering businesses, which are promoted on the clinic's website. Each business is given £10 vouchers, bespoke with their own branding, with which they can reward their customers. The vouchers are redeemable at The Valley Clinic.

“Initially, I was trying to think of ways to reward my patients, but it occurred to me that, by involving local businesses, I could also support the community by encouraging people to spend their money locally," said Liz. "With this scheme, everyone’s a winner and it costs nothing to take part.”

Currently, 18 businesses including Clip n Climb, Bistro Saigon, The Complete Runner, Ilkley Cycles, The Art Shop and Love Brownies are enjoying the benefits of the scheme.

Liz added: "This scheme continues to grow and has proven very popular with both customers and retailers. Who doesn’t like something for nothing? One patient commented, 'what great timing! All my kids needed new sports shoes, so I used my Vantage Card at Dobson and Robinson and got 10 per cent off'. To enhance the benefit of the Vantage Card scheme, the next step is for participating businesses with a common client base to work together to promote each other through events or joint offers."

Jo Sproston, of Joze School of Dance, said: “The Vantage card is a great way to encourage people to use local businesses.” Debbie Heeley, owner of The Fitting Room, added: “By offering additional incentives and by rewarding our customers, we can encourage people to shop local. Although Ilkley is a thriving town, if people don’t support our businesses and facilities, we’ll lose them.”

Anyone wanting more information about the Vantage Loyalty Card scheme can find it on the clinic’s website, where all local businesses taking part are listed. Local businesses can contact Liz if they would like to be involved.