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".
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.
The Totnes Pound was re-launched in June 2014 in denominations of £1, £5, £10 and £21. The final designs feature the author Mary Wesley, 'father of the computer' Charles Babbage, musician Ben Howard and the social activist and philanthropist Dorothy Elmhirst.
As of July 2014, more than 120 businesses in Totnes were accepting the Totnes Pound.
As of July 2014, more than £12,000 worth of currency had been issued.
Description of notes
The paper Totnes Pounds are printed on plasticised paper and have a number of security features.
- 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
- "Banknotes, local currencies and central bank objectives". Bank of England. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
- "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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