Confusion over new shop voucher scheme to encourage people to get vaccinated

Image above: Chiswick High Rd

There is confusion among Chiswick’s traders over a new E-vouchers scheme offering residents money off in local shops.

Two Chiswick retailers told The Chiswick Calendar they have been told to hang on their window stickers and till arrangements because a new voucher scheme was in the offing, but they had heard nothing about a new scheme from the Council.

E-vouchers, who operated the highly successful pre-Christmas £20 voucher scheme on behalf of the Council, emailed local businesses to give them a head’s up, but gave no details of the new scheme.

Labelled:  ‘IMPORTANT: ShopLocal Scheme’ the email said:

‘Dear Hounslow business,

‘The team at Hounslow Council are delighted to report that £1 million has been invested back into businesses throughout the borough, with the help of the ShopLocal voucher scheme.

‘We want to say a huge thank you for involving yourself and being part of an effort to rebuild the borough following the effects of the pandemic.

‘Whilst the ShopLocal scheme has now ended and no further vouchers can be redeemed, your final chance to liaise with the Evouchers team is 5pm on 11th January. After this date the ShopLocal scheme will be finished.

‘Please remember the COVID voucher scheme will begin on the 10th of January until the 31st of March. This will work in exactly the same way as the previous scheme so please keep your Evouchers App.’

Image above: e-voucher sticker

“Incentive” for people to get their booster vaccinations

When we rang them they said a new voucher was being introduced this week offering residents money off in local shops. The new scheme was supposed to begin on Monday (10 January) and would be used as an incentive for people to be vaccinated.

An agent from E-vouchers support told me under the new scheme those who stepped forward to be vaccinated in Hounslow would receive a new voucher to spend in the same participating stores as before. The new vouchers, the agent said, are to act as an incentive to boost vaccination rates in the borough.

I rang Cllr Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Communities and Workforce, Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services and Cllr Steve Curran, Council Leader. All confirmed that the pre-Christmas £20 voucher scheme had ended, but none had any idea of any new voucher scheme.

“I’m as in the dark as you are” Steve Curran

“I’m as in the dark as you are” said Steve Curran. “I would love to know what this is about”.

Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, told The Chiswick Calendar: 

“I can absolutely tell you, this is not a council scheme. I understand NHS colleagues are doing some exploratory work around incentives to vaccination and as a Council we were happy for them to use the e-voucher branding, however we are not directly involved and the governance and funding would be through the NHS and not the Council.”

Cllr Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Communities and Climate Emergency said:

“The voucher scheme is definitely finished and stickers can be removed. Ongoing support for businesses will be through the Innovate and Grow scheme.”

The Innovate and Grow scheme offers a range of free training and support packages aimed at sectors most impacted by the pandemic. These range from supporting businesses to start up a business to 1:1 growth mentoring, how to collaborate and secure new business, becoming greener and more sustainable, as well as more digitally focused.

Email sent out announcing new voucher scheme was sent ‘in error’

Kelly O’Neill, Hounslow’s Director of Public Health told The Chiswick Calendar on Tuesday, 11 January:

“I can confirm the news item in an email newsletter dated 22nd December announcing a proposed Covid Voucher scheme to be launched in January was included in error.

“We are continuing to actively consider new and innovative ways in which we can help vaccine hesitant residents make informed decisions, including through a voucher reward scheme. The details and nature of this scheme are yet to be finalised, and we will update residents as soon as this detail is available.”

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