How to save money in Sussex
My name is Chris Beveridge & I have lived in Sussex all my life. I remember back in the 1990s there was a residents discount card in Hastings for swimming and Stagecoach bus tickets. That lasted for a few years and helped 1000s of people save a few quid here and there. Since that folded Hastings needed a discount card to help you save money in shops, restaurants or even for the tourist attractions on our doorstep.
The Big Issue is a hand up, not a hand out!
Back 2014, I met an unemployed tree surgeon when volunteering at the Hastings Foodbank. He asked for money so he could pay his electricity bill. The Foodbank helped him with that. I thought if I could create a product that could be sold, the money could be used to pay bills. Town City Cards is my “Big Issue’ solution for local people going through short term crisis. The rollout of Universal Credit has resulted in families & individuals waiting up to 8 weeks for their first payment. When you are in debt you are forced to make difficult decisions about how much you spend on food, power, clothes, rent or the mortgage. Most of us probably only have enough savings to last two months before we would have to seek help. People in these circumstances could be given Town City Cards to sell to friends and family to create £100, which they then keep. It wouldn’t be a hand out, more of a hand up so they can create a small income in a difficult phase of life.
How many times do you see something before you buy it?
I really thought that a card named after a specific town would be a something to be proud of. Perhaps, with hindsight, Hastings Discount Card might have been a better choice. But it isn’t as catchy. After a couple of months the Hastings Card started to feature businesses from Battle, Bexhill, Eastbourne & Hailsham so it made sense to produce cards for those towns too. As the list of businesses increased it was time consuming to manage multiple websites. I decided that ‘Town City Cards’ would be a good company name so purchased the website domain. That’s why I created the ‘Town City Card’ membership. People didn’t realise that you can use any card in any town (ie. Hastings Card in Bexhill) The new 1066 Card removes that confusion. As more businesses are added in Sussex, Kent and beyond there will eventually be a Southern Card. When we were at the recent Bexhill Festival we had people coming up to us, buying the 1066 Card because they had seen it online!
Where can you use the 1066 Card?
There are now 400 + featured attractions, trade, beauty, restaurants, takeaways & shops across Sussex. If you spend money in your town, then there is a saving you can get with a Town City Card. Some people buy the card to save 25% off admission at Knockhatch Adventure Park or to get a 2 for 1 deal in popular restaurants. I heard that someone saved £8 at Arcade Fisheries in Hastings, they must of had a huge seafood banquet as that was their 10% discount!
How to raise money for a local cause (the easy way)…
I’m currently working with PTAs to raise money for schools. The PTA buys Town City Cards at a wholesale rate & then promotes the benefits via parentmail & their social media pages. It’s a win/win as I reach the people who benefit most from using the Town City Cards & they have a fund raising campaign that can be repeated twice a year. PTAs use the profit from the Town City Cards to buy new equipment, finance forest schools or plan an educational visit.
Why do people love a discount?
The Town City Cards, for me are about supporting local communities & helping families by reducing costs I started Town City Cards four years ago. Creating a membership from nothing takes persistence, time and money. However, I am always encouraged my business owners who tell me that the Town City Cards are being used & that they have new & returning customers. Reading reviews are really helpful because constructive criticism results in the cards being better. I remember the first time I saw a complete stranger get a discount in Arcade Butchers in Queens Arcade with the 1066 Card. He saved some money and I just smiled. Everyone loves a discount, don’t they?
Thanks for reading my story,
Photo credit: Oana Liliac