The initiative is part of the Transition Towns concept, of which Totnes is a pioneer. According to the Transition Town Totnes website this means that it is "a community in a process of imagining and creating a future that addresses the twin challenges of diminishing oil and gas supplies and climate change, and creates the kind of community that we would all want to be part of".
The Totnes Pound was launched as an initiative of Transition Town Totnes Economics and Livelihoods group in March 2007. The group argues that "Economic localisation is considered to be a key aspect of the transition process, and local currency systems provide the opportunity to strengthen the local economy whilst preventing money from leaking out".
In September 2013 the project was considering issuing higher value notes. At the time the only note available was the Totnes one pound.
The anticipated benefits of the Totnes Pound are:
- To build resilience in the local economy by keeping money circulating in the community and building new relationships
- To get people thinking and talking about how they spend their money
- To encourage more local trade and thus reduce food and trade miles
- To encourage tourists to use local businesses
Value and usage
A Totnes Pound is equal to one pound sterling and is backed by sterling held in a bank account.
In December 2008 a Totnes Pound was sold on eBay for £13.02.
As at September 2008, about 70 businesses in Totnes were accepting the Totnes Pound.
As of late 2013, £8,000 pounds worth of currency had been issued.
Description of notes
The Totnes Pound notes are printed by local firm Colourworks on plasticised paper. The printer was paid partially in the new currency.
- Lewes Pound
- Stroud Pound
- "The Wörgl Experiment" of using stamp scrip as a local currency
- Chiemgauer in Germany
- "The town already has its own currency, the Totnes pound" in "Devon town bids for eco status (retrieved 20 June 2008)
- Transition Town Totnes, April 2008
- The Totnes Pound Project, April 2008
- "Could Ben Howard be face of Totnes 21 pound note?". Western Morning News. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
- Totnes Pound Project - How It Works
- "Banknotes, local currencies and central bank objectives". Bank of England. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
- The Plymouth Herald - Printer rolling in bank notes
- "They don't just shop local in Totnes - they have their very own currency", The Independent, 1 May 2008 (accessed 20 June 2008)]
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