5 ways to help you be a hero this Christmas – take the Bristol Pound Christmas Challenge!

There’s no denying it: ‘tis the festive season. And for many of us that means getting gifts for loved ones and gathering goodies to enjoy over the festive period. Bristol’s streets are a-buzzing with merriment.

There’s something you can do to make the season of gift-buying and goodie-gathering a whole heap more fun for you, better for Bristol AND the global economy.

Use Bristol Pounds!

Take up the challenge and spread the love this season. Switch that Sterling for beautiful Bristol Pounds, then when you go spend it you’ll be building and protecting what we all love about Bristol, and helping make our city fairer, greener and more vibrant.

Here at Bristol Pound HQ we want to make this as easy as possible for everyone so we’ve put together 5 ways to help you be a hero this Christmas. I’ve added links, so if you like what you see, give it a click to find out more:

  1. The Bristol Pound advent calendar. We’re putting together a giant advent calendar and popping it in the St Nicks Market foyer. Each day, we’ll open the next door to reveal a special deal for Bristol Pound users to help you with your shopping! What’s that? You won’t be able to join us in the St Nick’s foyer every morning throughout December? Well okay, we’ll post it up on social media each morning too! Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date.
  2. The Bristol Pound Christmas market. We’re arranging a day of festivity on the 10th December at the Bristol Energy Hub on the waterfront. We’ll have: local craft and produce stalls; live music; free mince pies; Caring at Christmas are doing a wrapping service; you can win a Real Economy hamper; you can pick up the latest Bristol Pound business map and you can find out more about all the things you can do with Bristol Pounds (I can guarantee you don’t know all the things you can do with Bristol Pounds!). Plus, we’re right next to the Harbourside Market, where plenty of folk take the Bristol Pound. More info here.poster-for-christmas-market-620px 
  3. Our new Bristol Pound Map of central Bristol – more detailed than ever, stretching from Temple Meads to the Grain Barge and from Wapping Wharf to the Bear Pit, you’ll find 128 shops, pubs, cafes, hair dressers, homeware stores, florists, and much, much more. We’ll be handing them out at the market, but also sending one out to every Bristol Pound member.img_20161122_122219
  4. Indies in Bristol – a brand-new, city-wide event to celebrate Bristol’s amazing independent businesses and encourage Bristolians to shop local for Christmas. The main hub is in the Station courtyard (The Old Fire Station) in the city centre, where a central traders market of gifts, street food and a bar will be based. We’ll have a Bristol Pound ‘bank’ at the entrance of the event for your to switch to Bristol Pounds. Plus, we’re also doing a talk at 12.45. See you there! More info here.indies-in-bristol-poster-web-620px 
  5. Bristol Pound Trail – as part of the Indies in Bristol event, we’ve put together a pretty special little trail for you to follow – it’s a neat little trip in and around St Nick’s Market. Start at Beast Clothing to pick up your Bristol Pounds (they’re a ‘cash point’) – you can switch Sterling notes, pay on card or withdraw from your Bristol Pound account. Then visit a bunch of businesses waiting to give you discounts and offers if you use Bristol Pounds! More info here.bristol-pound-trail-banner-620px 

It’s easier than ever to do the Bristol Pound Christmas Challenge this year – so let’s change our money, change the world and have ourselves a jolly good time doing it.

Adam and the Bristol Pound team

 

A very warm welcome to Bristol’s own energy company: Bristol Energy

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That’s right, Bristol is now the first city to have both its own money and its own energy company!

It gets better: Bristol Energy is a force for social good, a gas and electricity company that will reinvest its profits straight back into the city, supporting essential services and local communities. It’s the first of its kind in the South West. We’re chuffed to bits to come together with Bristol Energy and work to keep money circulating locally, protecting Bristol jobs and creating a fairer, greener local economy.

Peter Haigh, Managing Director of Bristol Energy, had this to say:

“We believe energy companies have the power to make a positive difference. If you pay your bills with Bristol Energy, your money doesn’t just disappear into the pockets of private shareholders, it will help us to support your city. As a Bristol-born company we’re very proud to offer our customers the chance to pay in Bristol Pounds, helping even more of the money made in the city, stay local to the city.”

So, now you can pay for Bristol Energy using Bristol Pounds. But it gets even better than that. When you switch electric and gas quoting BPOUND001, Bristol Energy will give you £B20 and give us £B10! (Or £B10 for you and £B5 for us for one fuel)

Switch now and be the change we all need!

Click here for the full info on how to make the switch and how to pay your bills in Bristol Pounds

Bringing Bristol Pound to Massive Attack at the Downs

IMG_277127,000 Bristolians braved the storm on Saturday to watch Massive Attack perform at the Downs and we were very proud to be there promoting a fairer economy to soggy gig-goers. We sold a whopping £B4,284; breaking the record for most cash in one day since our launch in 2012.

The ethos of the festival was political, outlining the 21st century chaos of Brexit, racism, plight of refugees and growing inequality. We felt really encouraged by the response from the crowd, who listened and understood our message; if we change money, we can change the world.

So massive thanks to Team Love for inviting us to be the official currency of the festival. Also, a thanks to Fairphone for being our card payment tech and to Bristol Wood Recycling Project for pallets that were our ‘bank’ counter. Most of all a huge thank you to Bristol for being such a progressive, open minded city looking for a fairer, more equal future.

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The August system upgrade and how to reset your online account password and PIN

Like any piece of equipment, the Bristol Pound’s online system occasionally needs a bit of essential maintenance. The system is used by Bristol Credit Union to look after all the Bristol Pound personal and business accounts, and to manage payments.

On 9 August our technical teams upgraded the Bristol Pound system.

Following the upgrade your login password and text payment PIN number will need to be reset. This is a quick and simple process – and it’s described below.

Important changes
We’ll let you know all about the added features over the next few months – if you don’t discover them yourself first. In the meantime, we’ve updated our online guides to reflect the upgrades. Click the links to learn more:

How to log in to your account – now with automated ‘reset your password‘ link
Setting up regular payments – with brand new recurring payments function
Paying your council tax – you can now set up variable instalments to allow for that pesky higher payment in April!
Paying your business rates – now with much higher maximum payment

The Bristol Pound App
Sadly, there has been a slight (and temporary) casualty of the changeover: the Bristol Pound app has lost a bit of its functionality. You can no longer log in to the app, which means you can’t check your balance or make online payments. However, you can still use the app to:

  • locate businesses and cash points
  • find information on businesses
  • see special offers
  • make text payments

Withdrawing paper Bristol Pounds direct from your online account
When withdrawing paper notes from cash points you must now use the text command ‘exc’. So, assuming you want £B50, your PIN is 1234 and you’re at the Tobacco Factory you would write:

exc 1234 access6tobfac 50

Resetting your password

Go to www.bristolpound.org/login Click on the ‘Click here to reset your login password’ link in the bottom right hand corner Bristol Pound login page Enter your login name or the email address you used to sign up for the account.
resetscreen
You’ll receive an email with a link to reset your password. Make sure to check you junk or spam folders. Click on the link, which takes you to the reset password screen. Set your new password. Make it memorable and secure. Bristol Pound password reset Success! Now login using your new password and your username (if you’ve forgotten it, it’s in the email you just received). Next you need to reset your 4 digit security PIN.

Reset your PIN number

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be prompted to reset your PIN. Click on the ‘Click here to proceed’ button. Bristol Pound password reset Click on ‘Create’ next to PIN. Bristol Pound PIN reset Set your new four digit PIN. Bristol Pound PIN resetThat’s it – your new password and PIN have been set. Now you can explore the new online account system. Bristol Pound PIN reset This upgrade means we’re offering the most up to date and secure technology available. It will also bring some new features to make using the Bristol Pound even easier. If you’re having any trouble, call the Bristol Pound team on 0117 929 8642 or email the Bristol Credit Union team on bristolpound@bristolcreditunion.org.uk

Two New Roles at Bristol Pound – with Business and Community in mind

Hiring

Behind the big blue Bristol Pound sign, there’s a highly motivated, forward-thinking team, busying away with running campaigns, strengthening relationships and generally administering the daily running of the currency.

The team is evolving and we are currently seeking passionate and innovative folk to join us. We’re after a Business Relationship Manager and a Community Liaison Manager. These are key roles for the organisation and will both focus on their specialism while also working with the rest of the team to coordinate Bristol’s exciting local currency.

Intrigued? Pop over to the jobs page and have a look at the full descriptions. The application window for both roles is open up to the 5th of August with interviews being held in the week beginning 15th August.

Bristol Pound jobs page

Bristol Pound are hiring – Can you lead a growing team delivering a ground breaking project?

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Bristol Pound CIC operates a high profile local currency in Bristol and collaborates with a range of partners in the UK and overseas to develop and deliver other local currencies and related economic interventions.

We’re looking for more paid staff to join us. All the roles will be posted at bristolpound.org/jobs and below is the latest.

Programme Manager

We have a highly motivated staff team running the Bristol Pound supported by a Board of both paid executive and voluntary directors. We are undertaking pioneering work and going through rapid change and this requires adaptive and agile thinking and management.

The organisation emerged out of a mainly voluntary team in 2012 and now has 6+ FTE staff. We are set to expand further up to 15 FTE staff in order to launch and operate a new business credit service in Bristol, delivered along with the existing Bristol Pound local currency.

The Programme Manager will project manage the delivery of the Bristol Pound currency and our new business credit service, and line-manage the staff team tasked with the delivery of these innovative projects.

About you

You will be experienced and comfortable working with, and communicating with, a diverse range of people, with a demonstrable track record of leading a team. You will understand why the Bristol Pound exists and want to be an integral part of building the local currency and other local economic alternatives to help create a fairer and greener economy.

Here are the details

Salary: Circa £35,000
Reports to: Nominated Director/Exec Team
Direct reports: Delivery team of 5+ FTE staff: back office, sales and communications staff
Days: 5 days a week – 40 hours
Location: Bristol Pound office, Corn Exchange, Bristol City Centre

More information and application process

Head to our jobs page and download the job description/role profile.

To apply for the post please send a CV and covering letter by email to info@bristolpound.org. Please put the text “Application for Programme Manager Post” in the subject of the email. Applications for this post must be submitted by email no later than 3rd July 2016.

If you are shortlisted for interview, we will contact you by email to let you know the date and times of interview. We expect interviews to be held in the week commencing 11th July 2016 and will last up to 1 hour.

Can you help shape the Bristol Pound?

Bristol Pound are inviting our individual users to join a new Users Group to give feedback and opinions on Bristol Pound projects and initiatives.

Bristol Pound user group

Where: Upstairs hub room, Roll for the Soul, 2 Quay St, Bristol, BS1 2JL
When: Thursday 23 June 2016
Time: 19:30 – 20:30

Join our User Group and get experience influencing Bristol’s alternative currency scheme.

The first group will meet on 23th June and will be made up of a group of representative individual users from across the city. Any member can join the Users Group, though space will be limited in order to create a good quality, intimate discussion.

The Users Group will be a space for collective leverage over our local currency, making the Bristol Pound more responsive to our users. It will also be a great place to network and meet other Bristol Pound users who share an interest in improving our local economy.

During this first meeting, we will discuss what format we want the group to take, give updates on ongoing and upcoming Bristol Pound projects and gather feedback. A format for the group will be suggested and agreed by consensus and we hope that members of the group will be happy to meet three times a year.

Light refreshments will be available and space is limited to 15 attendees.

If you’d like to be involved please RSVP by email to Ruby at ruby@bristolpound.org

 

Bristol Pound businesses: tell us your news

Whether you’re launching a new product, moving location or holding a special event – let the Bristol Pound team know so we can share your good news.

News

Bristol Pound users tell us they want to know more about the local, independent businesses who accept the Bristol Pound. They also want to discover new places and ways to spend their Bristol Pounds.

That’s why we want to bring together businesses who accept the local currency and the people who want to spend them. To do that, we want to share more of your news and the stories that make your business different.

We’ve set up an email address so you can send us the latest info – it could be a press release, an invite, a picture or just the details. Send them to comms@bristolpound.org. Add the email address to your mailing list or tweet us @bristolpound with a link.

We can’t promise to share everything but we will get out as much as possible.

Send press releases, emails, pictures, questions to comms@bristolpound.org.

 

Bristol Pound on film – UWE students’ documentary on local currency

Five students from the city’s UWE university have made a short film telling the story of the Bristol Pound and how it’s had an impact on local businesses.

The film is a project by students Mei Davidson, Beth Miskin-Garside, Eve Dolman-Bowles, Megan Grindle and Nathalie Kupper Mccarrick who are all studying Graphic Design at UWE.

They were asked to create a short documentary on the stories that exist within Bristol that connect to a wider political, social and cultural context.

Mei Davidson said: “We decided to focus on the Bristol Pound because we thought that this was something very important to Bristol and is a response to the wider economical situation. Also, as a group of students who have lived elsewhere for most our lives, we knew very little about the Bristol Pound so it was an exciting opportunity for us to learn about it and talk to people in the community about it.”

The students’ film is being screened at the Watershed on the Harbourside at 11am on Wednesday 27 April.

 

Telling the story of the Bristol Pound

It was in some ways the cafe at the Watershed in Bristol that gave birth to the Bristol Pound. That was where the four people, who became friends, met every few weeks in the very long gestation period for a very big idea.

Prosperity Parade by David Boyle featuring the Bristol Pound

The full story is in my new book Prosperity Parade. The initial idea for a Bristol Pound had actually came from Chris Sunderland, a social activist, a former priest and founder of the citizen engagement charity Agora, where he’d been busy campaigning for people to leave cars at home on Tuesdays.

Transition Bristol had organised an event after the financial crisis which asked the question: how can we make the Bristol economy more resilient? One of the organisers was Ciaran Mundy, a trained ecologist who had been selling mobile phones, while launching a charity called One World Wildlife (the Bristol pound was launched by people juggling multiple roles).

At the event, Chris suggested to Ciaran that Bristol should have its own currency – a Bristol Pound. Ciaran agreed and they contacted Josh Ryan-Collins from the New Economics Foundation, who had been involved in launching the Brixton Pound in London. He passed the query onto Mark Burton, who was studying new kinds of money and was looking for somewhere to help launch a regional currency.

The pieces began to come together. Mark, Chris and Ciaran finally met in the first of many meetings at the café in the Watershed in Bristol, on the waterfront. Neither Chris nor Ciaran had experience of local currencies and they were keen to find out: as a result, Mark spent the summer writing a series of papers on different currency models.

The fourth original member from the Watershed days was Stephen Clarke, a solicitor who’d had a similar idea. “We met every couple of weeks to talk about what we needed to do next and who we needed to talk to,” Mark told me.

Anyone who thinks launching new kinds of money is a simple business should read the story – there were exhilarating moments and also frustrating encounters with regulators, strange meetings at the Bank of England, unexpected allies like the Bristol Credit Union and the city council. There were ups with artists and food businesses and down with the inevitable frustrations of starting something new.

Does all this matter now that the Bristol Pound is up and running?

I think it does. Human stories and anecdotes are the stock in trade of politicians, the currency they use in their everyday lives as parliamentarians and public speakers. There is some evidence that they tend to take decisions based partly on the personal stories they hear.

So to make progress, any new idea or practical approach has to produce a cascade of stories that demonstrate their purpose and success. Perhaps more than most, the emerging movement of resilient economies is held back by the lack of stories circulating around central and local government or policy-making circles.

Prosperity Parade, funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, includes eight tales about the new entrepreneurial spirit, where people are finding ways of kickstarting their local economic engines, often in very poor areas, and by doing so increasing their independence from central and local government.

These are all about individuals or groups of individuals, wrestling with new ideas in practice – in food, money, banking, energy – and bringing them to life, and the story of the Bristol Pound is the first.

These stories also demonstrate that local economic regeneration is not about some kind of local protectionism, but about bringing entrepreneurial skills to bear to make things happen, to increase local activity, using the raw materials that are to hand: people, their ideas and their needs.

It is about enterprise, seen sometimes through a slightly different lens. It is about dreaming of what is possible and making it so. And the Bristol Pound is among those showing the way.

David Boyle is co-director of New Weather Institute. Prosperity Parade is available on Amazon and as a downloadable PDF.