A northern company has changed its voucher incentive scheme for staff in the wake of the news of Shoprite’s takeover.

AFD Software Limited, based at Mountain View Innovation Centre just outside Ramsey, employs about 40 staff.

Since setting up business in 1997, it has operated a staff incentive scheme which saw employees enjoy the benefit of grocery vouchers alongside their salaries each month in the form of Shoprite vouchers.

But no more Shoprite means no more Shoprite vouchers.

Tesco has bought the Manx company’s chain of shops and is currently in the process of rebranding them.

David Dorricott, AFD Group managing director, said: ‘Our staff are our most important asset and so when we heard the news, we were left in a quandary as to how we could continue to provide our staff with this extra benefit but also keep the money in the island and specifically benefit the local community in which we live and work.

‘With this in mind, we approached the Northern Chamber of Commerce to explore possibilities of creating a replacement scheme.’

The Northern Chamber of Commerce supports businesses in the north.

Keith Dalrymple, chairman of the Northern Chamber of Commerce, said: ‘It is most encouraging to develop cooperative links with AFD Software Ltd, a successful local enterprise with a proven track record of contributing to benefit communities.

‘Following circulation of the initial call for expressions of interest 19 businesses immediately signed up with more joining since. We hope that after trialling the voucher scheme we will be able to extend it more widely and capitalise on keeping the local pound in the local economy.’

Local business owner Nat Hutchesson from the Hutch restaurant in Parliament Square said: ‘It’s no secret that it’s been a tough few years for retailers especially with online shopping and Covid and so it’s really heartening to see stakeholders in the community looking at how they can feed back into the local economy and really support us small businesses. We are excited to see how the scheme progresses.’

AFD employees will receive the vouchers each month and will be able to check via a QR code which businesses are participating in the scheme at any given time.

AFD properties manager Jonathan Sutherland said: ‘As a family with four children, we have a diverse range of needs each month and so to have the flexibility of using the vouchers in a varied selection of businesses throughout the north of the island works really well for us. We may even save some up and enjoy a date night out.’

The scheme launched last week. Businesses not currently enrolled as a member of the Northern Chamber of Commerce can join by emailing [email protected]