Together with his daughter Diana, Mr Bird created the Wedge card, which allows holders to receive discounts and offers from small shops and other independent businesses.
First established in London in December, the scheme has so far managed to sign up 400 businesses and is likely to be launched in Scotland before the year is out.
The Wedge card costs £20 for one year, and half the money goes to charity. In return the holder can save money when buying books, getting a haircut or eating out.
Mr Bird, who founded the Big Issue magazine that is sold by homeless people in 1991, hopes the card will encourage people to support their local businesses.
‘We believe that local businesses should be at the heart of the community,’ says a spokesman for Wedge. ‘It’s a great way for local people to engage with one another, whether it’s a chat over the Deli counter or meeting your neighbour for a coffee. Successful local traders are a sign of a vibrant and thriving community. Wedge Card will help to rejuvenate communities by supporting local business.’
A recent study carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses found that as many as nine out of ten people do less shopping in town centres when a new supermarket opens.