Loyalty cards to help save traders

PUBLISHED: 11:35 06 August 2009 | UPDATED: 17:00 25 August 2010

THE brainchild of Big Issue s founder could help turn around the demise of village life. The Wedge Card, dubbed a social passport by John Bird, is being adopted by thousands of residents as part of a scheme promoted all last week across Bexley borough

THE brainchild of Big Issue's founder could help turn around the demise of village life.

The Wedge Card, dubbed a 'social passport' by John Bird, is being adopted by thousands of residents as part of a scheme promoted all last week across Bexley borough with housing association, Orbit.

Simple in concept with the cheeky slogan 'Every little shop helps', holders of the card are entitled to special offers being run by shops in their neighbourhood.

Chains or franchises with more than nine outlets are excluded from the scheme.

Still in its infancy, it is claimed the card is already beginning to outstrip major retailers' loyalty cards for usage.

It was dreamt up two and a half years ago by Mr Bird while in a Los Angeles bookstore and has been championed by his daughter, Diana.

The idea came from a loyalty card sent by KCIW, a local LA radio station. When he produced the card, he says bookstore staff made him feel welcome and he was able to use it to get deals in 20 other stores.

Mr Bird said: "If you don't have local shops, communities start to break down.

You don't see people striking up conversations in supermarkets.

"When High Streets start getting boarded up, people have nowhere to go to interact with others and a sense of depression creeps in.

"Local shops retain about 80 per cent of their revenue within the community, with supermarkets it's more like 18 per cent."

"I started the Big Issue to bring homeless people into the community through selling the magazine.

"But to have a healthy community you need your coffee shops, newsagents, butchers.

"There's a big misconception that supermarkets cost less. There are some really good deals to be had in local shops, particularly in fruit and vegetables."

He refers to a study by American food giant Wallmart that shows 20 per cent of all perishable goods bought by their customers is thrown away, and adds: "We're all guilty of buying more than we need.

"The Wedge card is the community fighting back. It works in places where you wouldn't expect it to.

"But there has to be a mutual belief between residents and shop owners, you have to use it other wise there is just no point."

The scheme is being expanded worldwide, and is already adopted in Sydney, Australia and Oslo, Norway.

Orbit housing association has given 1,500 Wedge Cards at £15 each to its tenants in Bexley.

Orbit tenants who haven't received a card can phone 0800 6781 221.

To find out more about the scheme, search for


Latest Bexley news

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Police are investigating after a woman and a two-year-old girl were hit by a car which broke free while being towed in Bexleyheath yesterday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Controversial plans to open an African restaurant for 18 hours a day next to retirement homes have been refused by councillors.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our Met Office video forecast.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Jamie Brown of Archant Local Impact explains how you can build brand awareness.

Friday, October 19, 2018

A Welling church was delighted to present representatives from the emergency services with cheques totalling an amazing £6,054 after its annual teddy bear charity appeal.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Following the incredible sell-out stage success of Not Dead Enough, The Perfect Murder and Dead Simple, the number one best-selling author Peter James is back with a spine-tingling new world premiere play, The House On Cold Hill, coming to the Orchard Theatre in January.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A police officer based in Bexley has been served a final warning after he allegedly placed a man in a choke hold during a fight.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Bexley’s NHS services will receive more than £900,000 of extra funding this winter to help alleviate growing pressures on our hospitals, the Department for Health announced yesterday (Wednesday, October 17).

Most read news

Digital Edition

Read the Bexley Times e-edition today

Newsletter Sign Up

Bexley Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24