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Distribute £9million to 85,000 Glasgow residents

Working with Scotland Loves Local and Glasgow City Council to get £105 gift cards to 85,000 low-income households.

Hosting and support
Information architecture
Product Design
Project management
UX build
Web Development
Wordpress Content Management System (CMS)
March 23, 2023

Miconex has been a Bravand client since mid-2020. We work to support their local gift card programmes across the UK, Scotland, Ireland, the USA and Canada. Our work covers their e-commerce websites, mobile app design and development, and technical solutions to support their special projects and programmes.

In June 2022, Miconex talked Team Bravand through an absolutely brilliant brief. They were leading a fund disbursement project with Scotland Loves Local and the Glasgow City Council, with the aim of getting over 85,000 Glasgow gift cards out to members of the community that needed help the most.

The benefits to local community were multi-layered - local people get help with the cost of living, and local businesses benefit from the money going to them, increasing the benefit to the community.

The brief

  • 85,000 cards were to be sent through the post to members of the local community that needed help the most
  • The cards were to be sent out “blank”, meaning that no money would be loaded onto the card when they were sent out
  • All cards were to arrive at the same time, preceded by an initial letter giving the recipients their card activation codes
  • Bravand was to design and build an online solution that allowed recipients to load their cards with £105 from the correct fund wallet hosted by e-money partner, EML

Keys to project success

  • The system cannot fall over - with 85,000 letters landing at the same time and telling people they’ve been gifted £105, peaks in traffic are guaranteed, let alone expected!
  • The system needs to be live and tested within 4 weeks
  • Users of the system should be able to load their cards easily
  • The Miconex client success team needs to be able to report on the number of activations and thereby success of the programme in real time

What we did

This was a great exercise in risk aversion.

  • In order to remove all risk of system failure, we created one of the smallest web apps Team Bravand has ever developed
  • The features were simple - two front end fields (card number and activation code), a submit button, an API call to the EML e-money system that held the funds, and two forms of system response:
    - success (card loaded, happy user)
    - …and failure (something not quite right with the data entered)
  • The app was hosted on a completely different server to our main e-commerce infrastructure, partnering with our hosting partner OVHcloud. This ring-fenced both the app from interference from e-commerce whilst also protecting the main infrastructure from any peak traffic based risk.
  • A reporting feed was sent through to the client’s existing content management system, enabling them to both:
    - view activation figures swiftly
    - download a report of activated cards
    Without having yet another login system to remember and log in to

Did it work?

Yes. Brilliantly.

  • The campaign went live in early August, with letters landing on doormats.
  • In just 24 hours of the activation letters landing, over 45,000 cards were loaded with their funds.
  • In just a week, over 75% of cards had been loaded with not one single report of system failure or interruption.


The Glasgow project paved the way for local Scottish communities using gift cards as an innovative way to support their communities.

Shortly after, we helped support similar initiatives with Aberdeen, East Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, and Argyll and Bute and, most recently, Aberdeenshire in February 2023.

Interesting stuff about the project

  1. As a result of the project, interest from retailers wanting to accept the gift card skyrocketed, this meant we had to swiftly adjust the business onboarding process for the “where to spend” function on both Scotland Loves Local and the Town and City Gift Card websites to make it slicker and quicker to load!
  2. Stuff gets lost in the post! Following the initial distribution, some people reported lost cards and lost activation letters. Managing resends and the necessary checks created a small tail of work to be done post launch.
  3. When generating activation codes, avoid using lowercase l (for Lima), uppercase I (for Igloo) and the number 1 = lI1.
  4. Also avoid using uppercase O (for Oscar) and the number 0 = O0
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