Creative Currency: Could the New Bristol Pound Also Provide Opportunities For the Local VCS Sector?

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In an attempt to support Bristol’s independent businesses and make the local economy more active and resilient, a team of local people in Bristol are launching a new, local currency, with the backing of the Council and the Bristol Credit Union.

The ‘Bristol Pound’ will be a secure local currency designed to keep local high streets diverse and distinct and help to build upon Bristol’s strong communities. The Bristol Pound will be printed in notes, and also traded electronically.
 

The theory behind the new currency is that it will increase the likelihood that money spent in Bristol stays in Bristol, and will serve to support local people and independent businesses. Anyone can choose to accept Bristol pounds and can have pounds sterling exchanged to participate. One Bristol pound is equivalent to one pound sterling and can be used to pay for goods and services from other local members.
 

"We'll be driving more business to independent traders, and ensuring the diversity of our city, which is one of the things people love about Bristol," says Ciaran Mundy, the Director of the Bristol Pound.
 

Local traders and individuals are being encouraged to demonstrate their support for the local economy and get on board with the scheme. Already, more than 100 firms are signed up and support for the scheme is growing. There is some skepticism about the success of the venture and time will tell whether it develops beyond a ‘marketing gimmick’ into a widely used and accepted currency.

There has been a great deal of focus placed upon local businesses, but the team at Voscur is really interested to find out how the Bristol Pound may potentially serve to benefit the local VCS sector. Would your group or Charity choose to accept and even encourage donations in Bristol Pounds? Would you be able to benefit from local publicity? Would you encourage your local suppliers to join the scheme? What other benefits can you see the new currency having for you? We encourage you to join the debate and send your thoughts to: jessica@voscur.org. We may (with your permission) include them in our next edition of Thrive!