The ‘Bristol pound’ is a community currency that aims to keep money circulating among independent retailers and firms by encouraging people to use the local ‘cash’ instead of sterling, an idea that has inspired other towns and cities to take up similar schemes in the UK and abroad.
Some 800 businesses in the Bristol area now use the community currency, with coffees, meals, council tax and even pole-dancing lessons paid for with it.
“The practical vision was to get something which would connect local communities with their businesses in a way which kept money building up in their local communities,” the currency’s co-founder, Ciaran Mundy, said.
The system works by people exchanging their sterling for paper Bristol pounds – in single, five, 10 and 20 denominations – or by opening an account at the Bristol Credit Union. The currency can then be spent in participating businesses, or between businesses, in return for goods or services.