Working together to beat the credit crunch

Release Date: 09-Jan-2009
An innovative KNH scheme that boosts local businesses and benefits thousands of local people celebrated its continuing success this week, at an event attended by Barry Sheerman MP; the Mayor of Kirklees, Cllr Karam Hussain; Cllr Liz Smaje, Kirklees Council’s housing portfolio holder; tenant representatives and local business owners.
Petals Florists, Birstall - one of the many local shops where you can use your discount card

Petals Florists, Birstall - one of the many local shops where you can use your discount card

The KNH Excel discount card enables qualifying council tenants and leaseholders to save money on goods and services at businesses across Kirklees.

Launched in 2007, the discount card won the prestigious ‘most innovative project’ award from the National Federation of ALMOS in the same year.

It was the first scheme of its kind in the country to have been completely developed in-house by staff from KNH and tenants’ representatives working with business owners to develop a “local card for local people.”

This year, nearly 260 local shops and businesses have joined the free scheme – 100 more than in 2007.

Everyone who qualifies for the card receives a brochure listing them all and there’s a searchable directory on the KNH website – see the links at the end of this story.

Business owners also receive a card and are encouraged to display scheme posters and window stickers to show people that they are involved in the scheme.

Debbie Wood, the owner of Unique Hair by Design in Paddock, Huddersfield, recognised how the scheme could benefit her business, when she was approached to join in November 2007.

Debbie is delighted with how successful it has been for her: “It is an absolutely unique way of getting clients because people do use the card. I personally have had 20 – 30 new customers during the last year, purely because of the KNH Excel Discount Card.”

KNH Excel Manager, Helen O’Sullivan, said, “we are really pleased to be launching the 2009 discount card.”

“We were initially worried that the uncertain economy would discourage people from joining the scheme, but that hasn’t been the case at all. It’s fantastic that so many new businesses have joined this year, despite the credit crunch.

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone and we hope everyone who gets a card uses it. They’ll save money but they’ll also help support local businesses, which are an essential part of our communities.”

Speaking at the launch, Kirklees Council’s Cabinet member for Leisure and Neighbourhood Services, Cllr Liz Smaje, said: “I am very pleased that KNH is able to work in partnership to help the Council deliver one of its key priorities, which is to support local businesses. This is an excellent example of how we can work together to help people, especially in these difficult times."

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman is also a keen supporter of the card and the ideas behind it. He said: “Now, more than ever, it’s vital that the public and private sectors work together to support local economies.

“The KNH discount card is a terrific example of this kind of partnership working and it’s a scheme that could well benefit other regions.

“I’m encouraged that more local businesses are joining every year and I’m sure it will continue to go from strength to strength.”

The discount card is part of KNH Excel, an incentive scheme that recognises and rewards good tenants and encourages others who might have rent arrears to clear their accounts.

Any businesses wanting to join the free scheme can call 01484 223246 for more information.