30 Nov 2009

Is the Stroud Pound working?

That was the title of this last Friday's monthly Green party sponsored Coffee House Discussion. About 30 people joined the debate that started off with three presentations about the pound including one from Nick Allen, from Star Anise Arts Cafe, giving the view of a local business who uses the Stroud pound (see my blog re the launch of the Stroud Pound here, a guide to the currency here and why we need it here).

Photos: various pics from the evening plus a Brixton pound

Nick (pictured) expressed his support for the project and noted how, he would be using the Stroud pounds he had gained from customers, in local shops like Kane's and the Bookshop to buy Christmas presents for staff. However John Marjoram, who chaired the evening noted that some businesses were still cautious or could not see the advantage. Indeed you can read here in The Guardian comments from concerned traders in Brixton before their pound was launched (see pic below of their pound).

Molly Scott-Cato (pictured), an economist who helped launch the pound, gave a presentation that answered many of the questions businesses might have had. She said: "This recession has been caused by a financial crisis and having our own resilient local currency can help us to weather the storm. If we work together as a community of traders, consumers and charities - as the design of the Stroud pound encourages - then we will be able to support each other in these difficult times."

Indeed where similar projects have been launched overseas I learnt that they have a slow start before really taking off. However Stroud already has over £3600 in circulation in just over two months and only £150 returned so far. The Pound is starting to change the way local people shop and the way local traders think. Certainly having Stroud pounds in my pocket makes me think first about those businesses that take the pound.

There are now over 30 businesses signed up with more interested. The more businesses that sign up the more the Stroud pound can really achieve what economists call the 'local multiplier effect' - that is increasing the number of times money is circulated within a community. Keeping money circulating close to where you spend it is well known to have a significant impact on the local economy. Stroud Pounds are never going to be the whole answer but are part of the shift that can strengthen our local economy.

It is also worth noting that for every Stroud Pound purchased by an individual, 3% of its value is allocated to a local charitable organisation of the individual’s choice provided that it is a member of Stroud Pound Co-op Ltd.

Stroud Pound folk are outside Stroud Valleys Project every Saturday morning 10am to 1pm and now have a few post offices selling the pounds too. Plus the Stroud Pound will have a stall at the Goodwill evening. You can find out more at:

There will be no Coffee House discussion in December. Lastly I've used some of this blog to send to press to hopefully give the pound some more publicity - hopefully also soon news of two exciting new businesses that are considering joining.

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