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Lewes Pound

 

The Lewes Pound is a local currency in use in the town of Lewes, East Sussex. Inspired by the Totnes Pound and BerkShare, the currency was introduced with the blessing of the town council in September 2008 by Transition Town Lewes.  The mission of Transition Towns is to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities as they adopt and adapt the transition model on their journey to urgently rebuild resilience and drastically reduce CO2 emissions.

 

Lewes first introduced its own currency in 1789, but this was discontinued in 1895 along with a number of other local currencies. Its reintroduction in September 2008 achieved national media coverage.

 

The value of the Lewes Pound is fixed at £1 Sterling, and as of January 2009 can be used in about 80 of the approximately 130 shops in Lewes. A significant proportion of these are the familiar retail outlets that you pass in the high street every day. In addition, there is a farmers market on a Friday and the monthly market that hosts dozens of market stalls, virtually all of whom take the Lewes Pounds. To stimulate the use of Lewes Pound some businesses charge a lesser fee in Lewes Pounds and in that sense they use it as a way to attract customers. The Lewis Pound is printed in notes of LP£ 21, LP£ 10, LP£ 5 and LP£ 1. You can issue Lewes Pounds at different issuing points in Town. The total amount of Lewis Pounds in circulation is backed by sterling held in a bank account.

 

The Lewes Pound is essentially a voucher or token that can be traded locally as a complementary currency and used alongside Pounds Sterling. Money spent locally circulates within, and benefits the local economy. Money spent in national chains doesn’t. The Lewes Pound encourages demand for local goods and services. In turn this builds resilience to the rising costs of energy, transport and food.

 

The Lewes Pounds is driven by three main considerations:

● Economic: According to the New Economics Foundation, money spent locally stays within the community and is re-used many times, multiplying wealth and building resilience in the local economy.

● Environmental: Supporting local businesses and goods reduces the need for transport and minimises our carbon footprint.

● Social: By spending money in local outlets we can strengthen the relationships between local shopkeepers and the community. Furthermore, the Lewes Pound benefits local traders by increasing footfall and local business activity, encouraging people to buy locally and increasing customer loyalty.

 

The Lewes Pound in itself is not unique. Complementary currencies have existed since the beginning of civilisation, from the bead money of Papua New Guinea, which still exists, to the WIR, established between the World Wars and now used by 16% of Swiss businesses.

 

 
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Properties

Type of initiative Knowledge/advice organization, Other (specify): Community currency
Field of work Financial services
Date of commencement 2008
Founder(s)
Legal form Unincorporated Association
Continent Europe
Country England
City Lewes
One or several keywords that describe your initiative Community currency, local economy
Publications Printed brochure and monthly e-mail newsletter
More information
 

Contact person(s)

Gavin Barker

 

Contact information

Name The Lewes Pound
Address 2 Station Street
Zip/postal code BN7 2DA
Place Lewes
State/province East Sussex
Country UK
Phone
E-mail thelewespound@gmail.com
Website www.thelewespound.org

 

 

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