Reintroducing the Bristol Pound
The Bristol Pound is moving forward into its seventh year under the stewardship of new Managing Director Diana Finch who is aiming for the currency to become part of the everyday fabric of Bristol, with Bristol pounds circulating around the local economy.
The local currency, which can only be spent with local businesses, has grown to be the largest local currency in the UK. It has developed innovative ways to pay electronically alongside the paper currency including, most recently, the smartphone app. Importantly, strong support from Bristol City Council has meant that council tax and business rates can be paid in Bristol Pounds.
Several exciting projects are being planned to extend the range of services and create more opportunities for people to get involved. The focus will be on independent business members this Autumn, piloting innovative interest-free Bristol Pound loans and hosting regular business breakfasts to create a trusted business referral network. Improvements to the payment app and membership sign-up processes will be rolled out later in the year.
A Champions scheme will be launched in October, recruiting Community Champions to be ambassadors for the Bristol Pound in their local area, Business Champions to be trailblazers in developing ways of using and promoting the currency, and Funding Champions who can help the project invest in the future development of the Bristol Pound.
Diana Finch says: “With the prospect of Brexit and the continuing after-effects of the economic crash, the case for having a local currency has never been stronger. There is much work to be done on strengthening Bristol’s independent business sector, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”