Local currency the Bristol Pound goes live tomorrow
From tomorrow the cash tills of hundreds of Bristol’s independent retailers will be filled with the city’s own local currency, as the Bristol Pound goes live.
After three years in the making, the new currency designed to bolster the city’s independent businesses will be accepted in stores such as Chandos Deli, the Glassboat and Goldbrick House.
The Bristol Pound is spent in the same way as sterling, with £B1 equal in value to £1 sterling.
Bristol Pounds can be purchased for sterling from tomorrow from the Rummer Hotel, No.1 Harbourside and the Bristol Ferry Company, and then spent with participating businesses in the region.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
There will also be a human cash machine dispensing Bristol Pounds in St Nicholas Market from 12.11 GMT (12 noon Bristol time), when the scheme officially goes live.
Shoppers can spend their Bristol Pounds in note form, online or via any mobile phone on any network.
Some 125,000 in printed Bristol Pounds will be made available initially, exchangeable at a rate of one Bristol pound for one pound sterling.
More than 300 independent retailers are taking part in the scheme. Big names include Bristol Beer Factory, Lakota Club, Bristol Blue Glass, The Grain Barge, The White Bear, the Tobacco Factory Café and Blackboy Hill Cycles.
Organisers have been inundated with businesses looking to sign up to the Bristol Pound. The scheme attracted so much interest that the original May launch date had to be pushed back to September.
The Bristol Pound is the first of its kind in the UK. While local currencies have been launched in places such as Brixton, Totnes and Stroud, the Bristol Pound is innovative in that it uses a fast and straightforward electronic payment system.
Another pioneering aspect is the partnership arrangement with Bristol Credit Union, which offers the security of an authorised deposit-taking institution.
Each Bristol Pound is backed pound-for-pound by sterling deposits, so taking part incurs no more financial risk than depositing money with an authorised and regulated institution.
The Bristol Pound is a not-for-profit partnership between Bristol Pound Community Interest Company (CIC) and Bristol Credit Union.
Ciaran Mundy, director of the Bristol Pound CIC, assured the people of the city: “The printed Bristol Pounds are highly secure. They have fluorescent ink, an etched foil hologram, a UV-sensitive background. These are all very difficult to copy easily.
“Every Bristol Pound is backed by money held by the Credit Union. It’s as secure as holding sterling.
“And if worst comes to the worst and we decided not to run the scheme anymore, it’s not-for-profit so everyone would get their money back because the sterling is all held in a trust.”
Bristol Pound CIC is a company with assets ‘locked in’ to community control. It will be governed like a stakeholder cooperative, giving Bristol Pound account holders a say in the development of the company and representation on the board.
Surplus profits generated by Bristol Pound CIC will be distributed to the active members of the scheme, and full details will be published in the annual accounts of the CIC and made available online.
Early adopters of the currency will enjoy a bonus of additional 5 per cent when exchanging their sterling. Meanwhile primary producers based within 50 miles of the City of Bristol signing up to the Bristol Pound will be entitled to special terms under the Farm Link Initiative.
Council staff will also be able have some of their monthly salary transferred into a Bristol Pound account with the Credit Union.
Mr Mundy said: “We hope by the end of 2013 that 1,000 businesses will have signed up and we will have a few thousand Bristol Pound accounts.
“We have 1,300 accounts already, 300 of which are businesses.”
Turning to the aims of the Bristol Pound Mr Mundy, who has previously set up a number of his own businesses, said: “We hope to get more money being spent in the independent sector, so we give it a boost.
“We hope to maintain the money supply on the ground, so we have a more buoyant money supply, with more money going around the Bristol economy.
“And if businesses trade with each other and look for supply that can be obtained locally, that’s going to reduce the environmental impact. You have a shorter supply chain, less trucks driving around.”
Asked how the scheme developed, Mr Mundy explained he was approached by fellow Bristol Pound organiser Chris Sunderland while working at the Money and Economics Forum in Bristol three years ago.
Mr Sunderland suggested launching a local currency, and the pair set to work assessing its feasibility, with the help of Bristol Green Capital, the New Economics Foundation, the Transition Network and Transition Bristol.
Coin, a Netherlands-based body responsible for developing the technology, also got on board.
A 20-strong team then went out into the community and asked local businesses if they thought a local currency would work for them.
Once the scheme got up and running, organisers invited the people of Bristol to help create paper notes for the Bristol Pound.
In February this year school children, students, professional designers and amateurs alike submitted their designs, and a panel of judges selected the frontrunners.
The eight winning designs will now feature on one, five, ten and twenty Bristol Pound denominations.
Phil West, whose design was selected as one of the winning £B1 notes, told This is Bristol: “It’s pretty cool, I’m looking forward to seeing it in real life. It’s quite exciting.”
Turning to his inspiration, freelance graphic designer Mr West said: “There were different themes to choose from, and I chose urban wildlife, architecture and recycling.
“It took me quite a while. I did a bit every day, I didn’t do it in one foul swoop. I spent an hour a day for about a week.”
Turning to the concept of the Bristol Pound, Mr West said: “I think it’s going to be a good idea. It will help a lot of independent stories and help keep the money in Bristol.
“I’m excited to see how it does”.
The people of Bristol are invited to attend the launch of the Bristol Pound tomorrow at St Nicholas Market.
As the market bell is rung at 12 .11 GMT (12 noon Bristol time) the Lord Mayor, Councillor Peter Main, will spend the first Bristol pound with food hall and café, Source.
The payment will take place on the ‘nails’, the traditional site of exchange in the city since the 18th century.
Mr Mundy will then present the City, represented by Councillor Guy Poultney, Cabinet Member for Communities at Bristol City Council, with the first set of paper Bristol Pounds numbered 001, which will then be displayed at the M Shed Museum.
Bristolians are also invited to attend the Night Market, which will run tomorrow from 5.30pm to 9.30pm. There will be music, entertainment and clowns.
Councillor Poultney said: "Bristol has a successful independent retail sector and thriving high streets which we want to support and grow.
“The Bristol Pound will provide a real boost to the city's independent businesses and traders. Encouraging people to shop and do their business locally will support the local economy and create wider benefits such as safeguarding local employment and reducing the need to travel.”
Speaking of his anticipation ahead of tomorrow, Mr Munday said: “This is the first scheme in the UK on this scale. It’s a first for a city to do something like this.
“It’s really exciting. It will take one or two years to see how it’s developed, so we must be patient.”
To find out more about the Bristol Pound, visit bristolpound.org.