An organisation has given staff a share of more than £2,500 to spend in local businesses as part of its shop local campaign.
Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, which employs 34 people, usually runs a team-building event for its staff in the autumn.
But with the impact of Covid-19 making it impossible to bring the team together this year, the decision was taken to redistribute the money the organisation would have used during the one-day event.
It was instead spent at 17 businesses across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire including the Inverurie Whisky Shop, Mackie’s 19.2, John Lewis, Union Square, Meldrum House, Finnies, BrewDog, Donald Russell, Eat On The Green and Malmaison.
Coronavirus restrictions have left north-east firms unable to reward their staff for their efforts in battling through the pandemic with the traditional office Christmas party.
And in its place, the Chamber is challenging companies to ‘think local’ when it comes to funding set aside in annual budgets for staff activities.
Chief executive, Russell Borthwick, said: “Very simply, we asked each of our colleagues to go out and spend money with our member companies, with the Chamber reimbursing them for up to £50 of whatever they spent.
“They could choose what they wanted to use if for – a meal, a day trip, a product or service – safe in the knowledge that we would pay £50 of it for them.”
Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce has been encouraging members of the public to support local firms as much as possible since the launch of its North East Now campaign in June.
It has aimed to promote companies, large and small, across the region that have been significantly affected by lockdown measures introduced back in March.
To do their bit, the Chamber staff contributed £2,672 in total to the tills of 17 different companies across the area.
Russell added: “Our annual team building event is an important day for us as a company. It brings people from different teams and specialities across the business together and it’s a real shame that we weren’t able to hold it this year.
“However, it felt really good to be doing something to support local businesses and, because we shared snippets of what everyone has done with their slice of the cash, we’ve also had a real insight into our colleague’s hobbies and how they like to spend their free time which has been great for bringing us together.
“We know that not every organisation will be in a position this year to do something like this but as one of the partners behind North East Now, we wanted to put our money where our mouth is.
“We’d like to challenge other companies in the Aberdeen city region who have money set aside for a Christmas party, or any other activity that they won’t be able to do this year, to consider finding creative ways to use it that boosts our regional economy, because a strong economy is good for all of us.”