What is it?
Local currencies (or complementary currencies) are local money systems which can be used to encourage people to shop locally, support local businesses, promote the local area and to deepen the feelings of local pride.
These local currencies are often administered by community interest companies that run the currency for the benefit of the local community. Typically, local currencies are available in a paper format from local suppliers, but some, like the Bristol Pound are also available as an e-currency (a digital version of local currency).
Whether paper or e-currency, there is a postcode limit on the areas in which that currency can be spent. This boundary ensures money circulates again and again around the local economy instead of leaking out.
Who’s doing it?
Bristol Pound: A local economic incubator
The Bristol Pound is a not-for-profit partnership between Bristol Pound CIC and Bristol Credit Union that began in 2012. The Bristol Pound is available both in paper form and electronically by opening a Bristol Pounds account with the Bristol Credit Union.
These accounts are made available to both individuals and businesses in Bristol so they can spend and accept payment for goods or services with Bristol Pounds as oppose to sterling. Some businesses have taken advantage of the opportunity to communicate with people using Bristol Pounds using their website and to put out offers to local Bristol Pounds users.
Between 2012 and 2015 the Bristol Pound gained 800 member businesses and issued £1m in Bristol Pounds with around £700,000 Bristol Pounds still circulating in the economy. The success of this scheme has put a spotlight on the importance of buying local and retaining wealth within the local economy for the betterment of local people, places and businesses.
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