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Brixton Pound

 

In 2008 a group of local people in the Town of Brixton, part of the emerging Transition Towns movement, decided to investigate the possibility of a local currency. Then the effects of the financial crisis gave their efforts a new urgency: businesses were closing and rents were rising rapidly. Brixton Pound is a classic case of concerned citizens impatient to find concrete solutions to global problems that play out at the local level: scarce money; peak oil; environmental degradation. They intuitively grasped that local money was a smart solution.

 

The Brixton Pound (B£) is money that sticks to Brixton, a neighbourhood in London. It’s designed to support Brixton businesses and encourage local trade and production. It’s a complementary currency, working alongside (not replacing) pounds sterling.

 

Brixton is part of the Transition Town Network: a community-led organization for action on energy issues and climate change. Other Transition Towns also introduced local currencies like the Totnes Pound in Devon, Lewes Pound in Sussex and Stroud Pound in Gloucestershire. Bristol also has a community currency.

 

The Brixton Pound exists in paper and electronic format (also known as “Pay by Text”) The paper version was launched in September 2009 and the electronic version of the currency was launched in September 2011. Over 300 businesses are currently accepting the B£ paper notes and most of them accept Pay-by-Text. 

 

The notes are printed on watermarked paper by specialist secure printers. Each B£ is worth £1 sterling, and there are notes available of 1, 5, 10 and 20 Brixton Pounds. The sterling backing for all B£ in circulation is held at London Mutual Credit Union. Currently there are 30,000 Brixton Pounds in circulation. Brixton is a part of London where 60,000 people live.

 

Brixton Pounds are not exchangeable back to sterling, however businesses may redeem them at face value. Some traders offer Brixton Pound-customers special offers for using the money (like a loyalty card for Brixton). Pay by Text customers receive a 10% bonus automatically added onto their account every time they credit it. so for every £10 they pay in, they get B£e11 credited to their account.

 

Any goods or services traded for B£ will attract income/corporation tax and VAT just as if they were traded for sterling cash or other recognized payment methods.

 

The Brixton Pound team mapped the supply chains of local businesses a year after launch and discovered that lots of businesses source stuff from outside Brixton. They now work on creating more viable exchange circuits for them. Brixton Pound is governed as a community interest company (CIC) with seven directors and run by a team of four paid employees, who work parttime.

 

Brixton Pound works together with the London Mutual Credit Union. This Credit Union is co-operatively owned and makes low cost, ethical loans to local people on low incomes.

 

The Brixton Pound has entered a partnership with the Dutch development agency QOIN, who have adapted the Open Source Cyclos software developed by Stro and branded it as Community Currency 2.0 to run the mobile payments system.

 

B£s have become a strong part of local life. Many inhabitants of Brixton see and experience the benefits of their community currency. They understand they can challenge the status quo and be proud of Brixton’s independent spirit.

 

In 2015 Brixton Pound has launched a lottery in B£s called 'Brixton Bonus', and they have created the Brixton Fund from which they give micro grants to local organisations of community benefit. More info about the fund can be found here: Brixton Fund.

 

Play the Brixton Bonus: a monthly community prize draw with 2 winners: you, and Brixton.

 

Last update December 2015

 

 
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Properties

Type of initiative Knowledge/advice organization, Other (specify): Community Currency
Field of work Trade, Financial services
Date of commencement 2009
Founder(s) Community initiative
Legal form Community Interest Company, een non-profit organisatie
Continent Europe
Country Engeland
City Brixton
One or several keywords that describe your initiative community currency, support local economy
Publications newsletter, video
More information
 

Contact person(s)

Marta Owczarek

 

Contact information

Name Brixton Pound
Address 3 Atlantic Road
Zip/postal code SW9 8HX
Place London
State/province
Country United Kingdom
Phone +44 (0)750 658 5722
E-mail marta@brixtonpound.org
Website www.brixtonpound.org

 

 

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