Hurrah, the Lewes Pound celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2018 – a significant milestone. Indeed, the Mayor of Lewes hosted a reception for the Lewes Pound on 25th April in the town hall – a chance to thank everyone who has been involved – directors, businesses that accept the Lewes Pound, residents who use the Lewes Pound and issuing points. A framed collection showing our first ever note and our newest note was presented to the mayor. We also remembered the late Adrienne Campbell, who was such an inspiration at the start of this journey.
The Lewes Pound started in a blaze of glory back in September 2008 with the world’s media gathered at an event in the town hall to launch our unique local currency. At that time we had only printed 10,000 LP1 notes featuring Tom Paine and his famous words, “We have it in our power to build the world anew.” They were intended as a trial of this new idea but the notes were so eagerly snatched up that within few days there was not a note to be found in Lewes. An urgent reprinting was quickly arranged and we were in business.
Patrick Crawford, Director of the Lewes Pound commented “On the day of my one and only national TV appearance there were two headlines on the BBC: Lewes, the county town of East Sussex, launches its own currency; and secondly Lehman Brothers goes bust! The start of the financial crisis. The Lewes Pound encourages us to question our use of money, making money work for Lewes by encouraging people to shop locally. The Lewes Pound is a celebration of Lewes.”
Ten years later we are on our third issue and have extended our range of notes to include LP21, LP10, LP5 and LP1. We have tapped into the talents of local artists and schoolchildren to help create designs that are widely acclaimed. And we have brought out special issues to mark significant moments in Lewes life from the Mumford & Sons visit to the opening of Depot cinema. Needless to say, there is a special issue available from 26th April to celebrate our 10th birthday.
We are delighted that over 100 local businesses are happy to accept LPs as payment. We continue to encourage more residents to use Lewes Pounds with local traders through our monthly subscription scheme where subscribers receive an extra LP1 for each £20 on standing order. We continue to promote local businesses through social media. Using Lewes Pounds supports local businesses and gives that special glow that comes from handing over our own local currency to our own local shops, thus keeping money local. There is still lots of work to do to promote the Lewes Pound and take it forward. Our long-term ambition is to work with the Credit Union to have an electronic version to sit alongside our beautiful paper notes.
But for now we can celebrate the impact the Lewes Pound has made in supporting local businesses and the Lewes community and in continuing to attract visitors to our wonderful town. Join us in wishing the Lewes Pound a very happy 10th birthday. May there be many more.