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Making Bristolians happier – Why we became a Bristol Pound member

As a very proud Bristolian, when I first heard the words ‘Bristol Pound’ and ‘local currency’, I must admit it was like you had me at Hello!  It was a case of where do I sign up?!  As I looked into the scheme it seemed too good to be true. A large and vibrant city like Bristol maintaining its own currency, change really can happen!  When I heard our first elected, independent Mayor, George Ferguson, was being paid his full salary in Bristol Pounds, it was all the endorsement I needed.

I have to praise the genius of the person or people who came up with the Bristol Pound’s tagline ‘Our City, Our Money’.  Because that’s exactly what it is.

Holding a paper Bristol Pound in your hand fills the heart with pride, excitement and the feeling of being part of a real community.  It truly was an innovative idea to involve Bristolians (born n’ bred and adopted) to design the paper notes, it gets the whole city involved and it has generated great publicity.  Our favourite (if we had to chose) is Bristol Faces by Stewy.  The design perfectly sums up Bristol’s eclectic mix of creative talent and famed folk.

Bristol Pound 'Bristol Faces' design by Stewy

Our favourite Bristol Pound design ‘Bristol Faces’ by Stewy

From living and trading in the ‘age of austerity’ where new business contracts are more often than not, awarded on the cheapest price.  The Bristol Pound helps to change the mindset of business decision makers to look pass our fixation with who the cheapest supplier is, to instead actively wanting to work with likeminded business owners who share our belief of our local currency and want to support the city.

I admit, it hasn’t been plain sailing being a member of the Bristol Pound with the initial concerns of where to obtain these little Brizzle beauties, how can I get paid in them and how and where can I spend them?!  However we have set up our standing order to pay Bristol City Council our council tax each month.  And we are proud so say, we were paid for marketing services in Bristol Pounds for the first time just last month!  We’ve still got a long way to go; part of our business’s pledge is to source local suppliers and pay in Bristol Pounds.

We are also waiting in anticipation to see the development of other local currencies throughout the UK (Brixton (link to http://brixtonpound.org/what) , we know you were the first!) We can’t wait to go on our next holiday to Cornwall and spend some Cornish Pounds!

The Bristol Pound builds community.  It builds a stable structure for trading and a local economy that can prosper and stave off future global economic instability (so often brought on by heads of corporations and financial institutions that don’t have the interests of the greater population at heart).  The Bristol Pound helps to build a better Bristol for our children.

The introduction of the Bristol Pound is such a fantastic opportunity for the City of Bristol and its businesses, and by simply using it, we can all connect and support each other.

If you’re a business or individual and haven’t already done so, SIGN UP today!  Pay your council tax, pay your bus fair, buy locally grown healthy food, buy beautifully produced art and crafts and be an altogether happier Bristolian!

Why we became a Bristol Pound Member’ article written by Rebecca Hunt, Business Consultant, RH Small Business Support

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