Roundtable on the future of local currencies 31/10/18
January 16, 2019
The Wall Street Journal’s article on local currencies misses the mark
January 23, 2019

Ben’s New Year Bristol Resolution

Dear reader, I’m making contact to share a personal New Year resolution with you.

It’s a somewhat long post. Short version: I’m hoping that you’ll consider joining me in showing support for Bristol by engaging with Bristol Pound. See the bullets below for some ways to do this and read further down for reasons why.

Longer version: I’ve decided to commit to spend at least £500 per month with local Bristol businesses to show my commitment and support for our local economy. I’m going to do this in Bristol Pound, our local currency (which, as you know, I chair).

If you also feel that local businesses make a city more special, interesting, diverse and inclusive, then please consider doing the same. You may say that you’re already doing this, but I’m asking you to join me in doing it through Bristol Pound, which means that with every transaction a commitment to spend locally is passed on – a virtuous circle of local transactions.

If you’ve never used Bristol Pound, it’s a set of beautiful notes and a digital currency that operates 1 to 1 with Sterling.

If you’ve used Bristol Pound already, please consider going further:

  • Set up a monthly standing order into your Bristol Pound account.
  • Pay your council tax in Bristol Pound.
  • Switch to Good Energy or Bristol Energy, both of whom take Bristol Pound.
  • Visit local supermarkets that accept Bristol Pound: Better Food (with locations in Wapping Wharf, Whiteladies & St Werburghs) or Bristol Sweet Mart on St Mark’s Road.
  • Make a choice to try out one new Bristol Pound business a week – for example a pub, cafe, optician or plumber; which you can look up in the directory.
  • Encourage your favourite local shops and suppliers to accept Bristol Pound.
  • Tip-bomb a local cafe or restaurant in Bristol Pound that doesn’t yet take it!

Businesses, you can apply to open an account online.

  • Showcase your organisation in the directory and in our email newsletters to Bristol Pound members.
  • Demonstrate to your staff that you care about the city by promoting Bristol Pound.
  • Challenge yourselves to engage more local suppliers. If you can’t do this for your core business purchases, perhaps you could do so for your cleaning, stationery, accountancy or legal services; all of which are available in the directory.
  • Become one of our Business Champions.

Why you might do some of these things?

  1. Because it’s a fun way of exploring Bristol.
  2. Because at the same time as you explore Bristol’s independent businesses and organisations, you’ll be helping to make the city more dynamic, communal and economically resilient – which helps all of us.
  3. Because you’re concerned about the challenges to the high street provided by Amazon and others, and want to show support for real high streets, with real people, conversation and less packaging.
  4. Because you’re concerned about the costs to the environment of global supply chains and think that shorter local chains are a vital part of helping to reduce our carbon footprint.
  5. Because you want to support a financial experiment being watched closely by other cities – Bristol Pound has received delegations from Barcelona, Frankfurt and Israel in the last few years; and also provided inspiration for similar schemes around the world.

“If you want to change the way the world goes round, first you have to change the way money goes round” ~ Tom Burke

Building on the changes we instigated last year with the appointment of Diana Finch as Bristol Pound’s new MD in July, the team has a range of plans for 2019. These include an initiative to sign up Community Champions on a hyper-local basis to represent Bristol Pound across the city, enhancements to the Bristol Pound app and core platform, together with deeper partnerships with Bristol City Council, Bristol Credit Union, University of Bristol, UWE and others.

A few final thoughts for those still reading. Do get in touch for a hot water, lunch or beer if you want to chat about any of this. Please also pass the link on to anyone else you think might be interested. And finally, if, like me, you think that Bristol Pound is something that deserves to be given the best chance to help change the world, I’m looking for twenty £10K Funding Champions to help close the financial gap as we target sustainability by the end of 2021. Two of us have so far stepped up, and I’m keen to talk to others.

Happy New Year

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