A UNIQUE gift card is being launched in time for Christmas in a bid to take the headache out of shopping while giving York shops a boost.

Fashion stores and galleries, as well as food and entertainment outlets have backed the York Gift Card which celebrates the best of the city and supports the local economy.

Recipients can spend the card at more than 200 businesses in York which have signed up to the scheme, including local and national outlets, across a range of sectors.

The team behind it at York BID say this makes it the most flexible and locally sustainable present around.

Carl Alsop, operations manager of York BID, said: “The York gift card is really simple to use. Just look for the signs in the windows of shops, bars, restaurants and museums. This is about giving someone great choice in a gift, while making sure that your money is spent in the local economy.”

The York Gift Card features York Minster artwork by Jonathan Williams, of The Braithwaite Gallery.

It is a preloaded Mastercard, valid for a year from the date of issue and can be redeemed in multiple transactions in a variety of businesses in the city centre.

This BID venture can also be used as an employee incentive or bonus scheme.

Brian Littlejohn, deputy manager at Marks & Spencer and deputy chair of the York Retail Forum, said: ‘Part of the strategy of York BID and the Forum is to keep it local, and the gift card is a brilliant tool for this. It’s a fantastic collaboration of retailers, hospitality outlets and the BID working together for the benefit of the all – great teamwork!’

The card launches on Thursday, October 24, after which you can buy the card at York Gin, Pavement, or online at www.yorkgiftcard.com. It will also be sold at the St Nicholas Christmas market.

Participating businesses include: Marks & Spencer, Fenwicks, Browns, York Museums, Pairings Wine Bar, Yorkshire Bar & Grill, Pyramid Gallery, Lush, Ambiente Tapas and Brew York.

A full list can be found at: www.yorkgiftcard.com