Community currency the Bristol Pound could close next month unless it receives grant funding.
New Start has reported on Bristol Pound since its inception in 2012 when it was heralded as Bristol’s ‘local economic incubator’. However, the community interest company (CIC) behind the currency says it is now increasingly difficult to raise grant funding to support the venture.
The concept behind Bristol Pound was a local paper currency that can be distributed and spent locally, which keeps money circulating within a geographical location and away from the pockets of shareholders of large corporations or bankers. It can be spent at 800 businesses in the city, you can pay your council tax with it, and famously the former mayor had his salary paid in the currency.
Bristol Pound had been the most high profile community currency in the UK and the model inspired other fledging currencies such as Bourn Coin, which have also struggled to become financially sustainable.
Bristol Pound CIC says all money currently held in the currency is safe until September 30, 2021.
In a statement, the CIC said: ‘The fact is that we are still a couple of years off being self-sufficient financially, and we need funding to cover this gap.
‘We have been largely reliant on grants up to this point, but over the last three years, we have found it increasingly difficult to raise grant funding for our work. As a result, we now find ourselves facing difficult decisions.
‘Unless we are able to secure significant funding for the existing digital currency operation by the end of February, we will have to start the process of winding it down in early March.’
‘Everything will continue to function as normal at least until April. We will give plenty of notice of any major changes to the scheme to enable people to adapt, for example setting up alternative payment methods for recurring payments.’
If they do receive new funding they hope to develop a new payment platform. They say they will meet with Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees to discuss their future plans.
Photo Credit – The Bristol Pound