Bristol’s recent leaps in developing a local currency have inspired other major UK cities to follow suit.
“We don’t want to be in a position where we’re reinventing the wheel,” says John Smith, development director of the Liverpool Pound.
“The wheel in Bristol is working really well and we’re really excited about it.
“The leading light in the UK for local currencies is Bristol. The people in Bristol are very generous with the experience, knowledge and skills that they’ve got.”
The organisers of the Bristol Pound (including recruitment manager Mike Lloyd-Jones, above), are currently helping 25 other communities, including Liverpool, to set up their own local currency.
Smith hopes to launch the Liverpool Pound next spring and shows us a mock up design for a John Lennon £20 note.
From April 1, Bristol residents will be able to pay their council tax bill in Bristol Pounds. There are more and more major local companies, like Alec French Architects and First buses now accepting payment in Bristol Pounds; and George Ferguson even receives his entire mayoral wage in the currency.
“It sends out a watermark to other councils around the country of ways that we can create honest money and keep it within our communities,” Smith adds.
“There are a lot of similarities between Bristol and Liverpool in the history that they have, in terms of a maritime port, in terms of the diverse communities of both cities.”
A panel of judges decide the new Bristol Pound designs. From left to right: Alex Lucas, designer of the current Bristol Pound £5 note; Nigel Dyke – director, Alec French Architects; Zoe Sear – head of mayoral initiatives & partnerships; Kate Hanks – deputy CEO, Bristol Credit Union; Dave Forman – £B branding; Gavin Hawkins – from First Bus; Steve Penny – Essential Trading; and Yoma Smith – £B board of directors.
From June 30, each of the Bristol Pound notes will feature a brand new design, chosen from entries sent in by the public. The artwork competition received over 200 entries and the winning designs will be announced later this week.
Smith says: “Every time I come down here, you guys have added another cog to what you’re doing. The artwork competition is something we’d hope to replicate.
“I should add that I’m a big Bristol City fan as well. I’m looking forward to the day Bristol City get into the Premiership so they can come to Liverpool and play Everton.”
For more information about the Bristol Pound, visit www.bristolpound.org.
Photos by Sarah McDowall