The Exeter Pound is one of the many local currencies on the “transition currency” model, like Bristol Pound and our own proposed Birmingham Pound. It is a local currency run by the people of Exeter (voluntary directors) for the people of Exeter.
It was launched in 2015 with speakers including the region’s MEP, Molly Scott Cato and MP Ben Bradshaw. It is designed to make sure that money spent in Exeter stays in Exeter. The project, a joint initiative between Transition Exeter and Exeter City Council to develop and issue a community currency for the city, has attracted widespread support from local individuals, communities and businesses, in particular the Federation of Small Businesses.
Like our proposed Birmingham Pound, the Exeter Pound is equal in value to sterling but can only be spent in local independent businesses. People buy £E1, £E5, £E10 & £E20 Exeter Pound notes at exchange points across the city. Its website said that businesses have digital accounts to manage the paper money – interesting . . .
Exeter Pound timed their launch to coincide with the city’s hosting of the Rugby World Cup in 2015, and issued a number of commemorative notes which helped fund its start-up costs and boosted its profile.
The Exeter Pound notes are created by Orion Security Print with nine security features to pre-empt forgery, described here.
- Pay suppliers who are also Trader Members of the scheme
- Pay business rates
- Pay staff as part of a voluntary salary scheme, or ad hoc incentive scheme (eg. Cartridges Law gave their Christmas bonus in Exeter Pounds)
- Offer as change to customers*Deposit at exchange points and have the balance transferred to your online Exeter Pound account
- Exchange back to sterling via your online Exeter Pound account
Many of these features are also being considered for the Birmingham Pound.
In addition to a large and varied range of ‘eateries’ and therapists in the Exeter Pound’s directory it was good to see the blend of mainstream venues taking part – the cathedral café (below),
Go-Cars (car and electric-bike hire), Exeter City Football Club, tuition, bike repairs, accounting services, chimney sweep, Dunns Motors (petrol station) , architect jeweller, vineyard and Exeter motor works (auto repair).
What is happening with the Birmingham proposals?
We’re still working behind the scenes on this, as we are keen to ensure that we have the right financial model for making the currency sustainable before we launch, and on our largely voluntary resources this takes time. We are learning from the Exeter Pound and others as we go.
We’re particularly keen to emphasise the business-to-business nature of the currency so that it is clear it isn’t just a local shop loyalty scheme.
You can sign up at http://brumpound.wordpress.com for further updates.