Friday, 20 October 2017

New rewards scheme allows you to give back to community

A COMMUNITY rewards scheme has been launched in Henley.

A COMMUNITY rewards scheme has been launched in Henley.

Reward Your World is being trialled in Reading and the surrounding area and hopes to have more than 50,000 members by Christmas.

Customers can sign up to acquire BetterPoints by volunteering, using local businesses or service providers, or shopping online. These points can be redeemed to receive money-off products and services or be donated to local community organisations and charities.

The initiative was founded by three friends, Nick Crowder, from Shiplake, Dan Gipple, from Harpsden, and Dan Girdler, from Nettlebed.

Mr Crowder said: “We wanted to create a way of bringing together all sections of the community to make them work better together.

“Reward Your World is not some little scheme, it’s a platform that covers a whole community and rewards you for living better.”

The idea has attracted attention across the country and the trio are in talks with the Cabinet office and various organisations.

Mr Crowder, who has worked in the charity sector for 20 years and set up Christian Action in Reading, said: “We are being recognised as a pioneering venture as it’s a whole new way of supporting communities and charities.

“Research tells us that when people have earned the points by doing good they will want to give them back to do more for the community.

“The points are not a payment, they’re a thank-you to do more good in the community, but people are totally at liberty to do what they want with them.”

The founders met at Springwater Church in Peppard Common, which they all attend regularly.

Mr Gipple, who used to work in advertising, said the key to success was ensuring people took advantage of their BetterPoints.

“We want people to use their points, move them around and get them into the community,” he said.

Reward Your World has acquired Cambridge Open Systems, a service which allows community groups to set up websites, and hopes this will help the idea develop more quickly.

Mr Gipple said: “We have received very positive feedback so we just need to give it a lift and get people engaged with it.” Accoutantcy firm Kench & Co, of Station Road, Henley, is the first business in the town to sign up. It will sponsor up to 50 volunteers for the Reading half marathon on March 17 in aid of Sue Ryder.

Director Linda Mason said: “We are always thinking of ways to raise funds for charities and we are very much Henley-based so it seemed like a fantastic scheme and a great idea. Sue Ryder does a fantastic job and it’s probably becoming more difficult to get volunteers to help out so we hope our support will make a difference.”

Vicki Collins, fund-raiser for Sue Ryder, said: “We are hoping to attract 50 or more volunteers so we look to organisations like Reward Your World to help us. It’s very difficult and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start so when we heard about Reward Your World we jumped at the chance.”

Reading Buses has signed up as a trial programme partner and will offer rewards such as financial savings and other benefits to customers who join the scheme. Other partners include Reading Voluntary Action and Berkshire Community Foundation.

For more information, call (01491) 845437 or visit www.rewardyourworld.com

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