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Will the Brixton pound buy a brighter future?

Leo Hickman, The Guardian
It has all the makings of a taxing pub quiz question: what links dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, environmental scientist James Lovelock, black civil rights activist Olive Morris and comedian Chris Morris with David Bowie, the Clash, Harold Macmillan and Sharon Osborne?

The canny among you will have spotted that they are all one-time residents of Brixton in south London – but the more astute answer is that they have also all been in the running to appear on one of Brixton’s new bank notes, a local currency that is officially launched tomorrow night at Lambeth town hall. The results of an online poll to determine the most popular local celebrities will be revealed at the event, as will the designs of the £1, £5, £10 and £20 Brixton notes. Notaphilists – or bank note collectors – are said to be breathless with excitement.

The Brixton pound is the latest local currency to be launched under the umbrella of the Transition Town Network, a rapidly growing global movement that urges local communities to “respond to the challenges, and opportunities, of peak oil and climate change”. The movement – essentially a rebranding of the 1970s permaculture philosophy of self-sufficiency, sustainability and working with nature – began in Kinsale, County Cork, in 2005 and has since spread across the planet from the US and New Zealand through to Chile and Italy. Even Ambridge in Radio 4’s The Archers signed up last year…
(16 Sept 2009)
related: Two Short Films About the Brixton Pound

Stroud Pound unveiled

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The designs for the alternative currency which aims to keep cash in Stroud has been launched.

The Stroud Pound will shortly be in circulation with Cider With Rosie author Laurie Lee on the fiver.

The project hopes to fend off the recession by keeping money inside the Five Valleys, allowing shoppers to use the notes in participating businesses.

Economist Molly Scott Cato, of the Stroud Proud Co-operative, said: “What makes Stroud better is that we have a lot of local producers here. We hope there will be a synergy between consumers and producers.

“Green economists hope to achieve this closed loop.”…
(16 Sept 2009)

The Stroud Pound Hits the Tills

Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture

stroud pound 1This weekend saw the launch of the Stroud Pound. Four denominations have been published, and over at Josef Coates-Davis’s blog, he tells the story of the design of the notes.

“The notes, designed by local artist Ronan Schoemaker and produced by local currency collector Steve Charlwood, are like miniature histories of the economic and cultural life of the Five Valleys. The most prominent local celebrity to feature is Laurie Lee, author of Cider with Rosie, who was born in Stroud and is buried in the Slad Valley. Local wildlife is represented by the rare Adonis Blue butterfly found on Minchinhampton Common. Stroud’s economic heritage is commemorated by the teazle itself, while the lawnmower, invented in Stroud, the green felt cloth that is still made in the town and Thomas the Tank Engine also feature”.

The launch has generated a fair bit of coverage. The Telegraph focused on the fact that Laurie Lee (author of ‘Cider with Rosie’) features on one of the notes, and here is a piece from the local paper. Local councillor, Philip Booth, on his excellent site Ruscombe Green, discusses Why We Need the Stroud Pound. The Stroud Pound is the work of the Stroud Pound Co-op Ltd which in turn, grew out of Transition Stroud. You can read their take on it here. They state that the reasons for the currency are;

  • Retain more locally created economic values within the locality and prevent leakage into the global economy, as happens with sterling exchanges;
  • Increase and sustain local economic activity and help insulate Stroud’s economy from the worst effects of Recession;
  • Increase trade and support the creation of more jobs
  • Help consumers identify which businesses support the local economy.
  • (Reduce the length of supply chains for local consumers;)
  • Stimulate greater local production

stroud pound 2The BBC have a short film about the Stroud Pound (second film clip down) which is quite good. Stroud is home to Molly Scott Cato, author, economist, and publisher of the excellent Gaian economics blog. She dressed up as a banker for the launch, and you can read her take on the whole thing here, and her earlier musings on the note designs here. Finally, here is the official Stroud Pound website. The Stroud Pound takes a slightly different model to Totnes and Lewes which allows a whole new body of understanding to be gathered, being based on a co-operative model with a membership. Very best wishes to all concerned, may it flourish and thrive.

(14 Sept 2009)