Bristol Pound is money that’s made by local people, for local people; run by a non-profit community interest company (Bristol Pound CIC).
Set up by a group of campaigners and financial activists in 2009, the Bristol Pound is a network of over 2000 individuals and independent businesses who use digital and paper currency to trade in Bristol, localising supply chains and keeping money circulating in our city. It’s a movement, an idea, a hope, a better way of doing money; and we believe if you want to change the way the world goes round, first you have to change the way money goes round.
Bristol has always been a fertile environment for creativity, innovation and community building. It is this environment that, over time, has incubated a strong sense of ethics and justice around social, environmental and economic change. It makes perfect sense that in this city, we should experiment with new ways to own our own money too.
The financial crisis in 2008 was a wake up call for many of us. We came to realise that our city’s economic system extracts wealth from communities, harming the real local economy. It damages the environment, perpetuates inequality and homogenises high streets.
Around a table in a pub in early 2009 we decided to do something about it. The Bristol Pound was established as a movement driven by the community, which aims to redefine the way we live and work with money.
Today the Bristol Pound is widely seen as the most successful local currency in the UK. Since its birth, over £5million Bristol Pounds have been spent in the city, including paper and electronic payments. Over 80,000 transactions have been made by text, mobile app and online banking, which is around 300 payments a week since 2012. Members can use Bristol Pounds to get on the bus or train, to pay their council tax, to buy their vegetables, coffee and bread. The Bristol Pound’s very existence is proof that bottom up community organising works, and that together, we can create a fairer, more inclusive and more resilient local economy.