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A small but growing number of cash-strapped communities are printing their own money. - Borrowing from a Depression-era idea, they are aiming to help consumers make ends meet and support struggling local businesses.
The systems generally work like this: Businesses and individuals form a network to print currency. Shoppers buy it at a discount — say, 95 cents for $1 value — and spend the full value at stores that accept the currency. Workers with dwindling wages are paying for groceries, yoga classes and fuel with Detroit Cheers, Ithaca Hours in New York, Plenty in North Carolina or BerkShares in Massachusetts.
Ed Collom, a University of Southern Maine sociologist who has studied local currencies, says they encourage people to buy locally. Merchants, hurting because customers have cut back on spending, benefit as consumers spend the local cash.
What is it?
The Lewes Pound is a creative yet practical way for local people to make money work for Lewes.
Money spent locally circulates within, and benefits the local economy. Money spent in national chains doesn't. The Lewes Pound encourages demand for local goods and services. In turn this builds resilience to the rising costs of energy, transport and food. The Lewes Pound is a complementary currency intended to be used alongside pounds Sterling.
The Lewes Pounds is driven by three main considerations:
* Economic: According to the New Economics Foundation, money spent locally stays within the community and is re-used many times, multiplying wealth and building resilience in the local economy.
* Environmental: Supporting local businesses and goods reduces the need for transport and minimises our carbon footprint.
* Social: By spending money in local outlets we can strengthen the relationships between local shopkeepers and the community. It also supports people finding new ways to make a living initiatives
The Lewes Pound also benefits shoppers by creates stronger and more local shops, increasing a sense of pride in our community, decreasing CO2 emissions and increasing economic resilience. Furthermore, the Lewes Pound benefits local traders by increasing footfall and local business activity, encouraging people to buy local and increasing customer loyalty, highlighting the benefits of local shopping, bringing attention and attracting visitors to Lewesand minimising card-based transaction costs.