Introducing ‘Local Rewards’ – grassroot initiative to keep Sydney’s Inner East shopping local.

New scheme supports local businesses in recovery while rewarding shoppers

MEDIA RELEASE: Sydney, 11 August 2020: As Australia’s recession begins to bite, Surry Hills, Redfern, Darlinghurst and Potts Point communities are being incentivised to embrace a new scheme to shop local: Local Rewards.

Backed by the City of Sydney, the gift card initiative enables shoppers, diners, drinkers and fitness fanatics to support their favourite neighbourhood spots by spending local, with all profits going towards keeping communities open and thriving. Simple to use, the eftpos card can be loaded with cash online and then used at all participating businesses – from dog walking services to art studios, cafes, bars and gyms.

With discounts ranging from 10% off to 2-for-1 meal deals, dozens of small businesses have joined the program so far, including much-loved foodie spots such as The Colonial Darlinghurst, Simply Hummus and Lucky Pickle. The Green Room home decor, Tolu Australia and Grand Days are just some of the retail outlets which have also stepped up to join Local Rewards.

On signing up, new members receive a $5 cash bonus when crediting $50 to $99 to the card. For $100+ invested, they can enjoy an additional $10 cash bonus. This dividend means loyal residents and visitors have an extra incentive to back the retailers and services they know and love, safe in the knowledge that they are taking practical steps to help the community recover.

A recent survey found that one in five small businesses in Australia have lost more than $100,000 as a result of the pandemic and that two in three business owners with fewer than 50 staff had been adversely affected*, showing it’s now more important than ever to favour the little guy over the global giants.

The Local Rewards concept is a grass-roots initiative from the Surry Hills Creative Precinct, supported by the City of Sydney and a number of other business bodies including The Darlinghurst Business Partnership and the Potts Point Partnership. The group is hoping as many local residents as possible get on board, and also sees the card as a great ‘thank you’ gift opportunity for teachers at local schools, childcare centres and other frontline workers who have been helping us through COVID-19. 

Leigh Harris, founder of Local Rewards, comments, “Part of the charm of living in this special part of the world is the thriving community of small businesses that not only meet our everyday needs but add colour and atmosphere to the culture of the neighbourhood. It’s been disheartening to see these businesses struggle so I wanted to create a scheme that would shine a light on their unique offering and encourage people to come outside and shop local. Times are tough for all of us, but by supporting one another we can come out the other side even stronger than before.”

Jess Scully, Deputy Lord Mayor, City of Sydney, comments, “It’s the local community spirit that has helped us pull through these dark times. As we’re all spending more time closer to home, the Local Rewards scheme is another chance to discover what’s on our doorstep, and support those cafes, gyms and boutiques that offer a friendlier and more bespoke approach. This initiative is designed to celebrate and champion our vibrant villages for residents and visitors.”

The Local Reward cards are available to purchase now from All profits from the Local Rewards program go back into the local communities that generate the sales, to further enhance recovery and keep communities open and prosperous.

Local Rewards is supported by The Surry Hills Creative Precinct, The City of Sydney and the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre. For full terms and conditions and more information go to