The Lewes PoundThe Lewes Pound is issuing a whole new range of designs for 2020, celebrating the things that make our town special and that can give us all hope for the future, says Susan Murray.

We are delighted to announce that the new 2020 issue of the Lewes Pound launches on 25 September. Normally this would be a time for new beginnings, but this year things seem a lot more precarious. However, well-being demands that we find reasons to celebrate and feel good about ourselves and our community. Life goes on and we need to live it as best we can.

That’s why we have decided to go ahead with bringing out a new issue of the Lewes Pound (LP). Paper money is something many businesses are currently avoiding (NB the World Health Organisation and the Bank of England advise that currency does not pose a significant risk of spreading COVID-19), so usage of the Lewes Pound may be low for a while.

However, the Lewes Pound is more than just money and we are proud that our new designs celebrate so many wonderful aspects of the Lewes community and point to a better future.

Three themes to celebrate Lewes

We wanted our new Lewes Pounds to tell a real story about our currency project and how it celebrates Lewes. We therefore decided upon three themes.

The first theme is about celebrating Lewes, its independent businesses and its tourist attractions. Anything the Lewes Pound can do to encourage residents and visitors to return to them will help to preserve the very special character of our town and benefit all of us. So we are delighted that Lewes District Council has provided some artwork featuring local shops on the LP1 note and Lewes visitor attractions on the LP5 note. We very much hope that these organisations may be able to find ways to promote themselves using our lovely designs. Just looking at them certainly gives us a real sense of how much there is to celebrate about our town.

As ever the new LP21 note will celebrate Bonfire – still an essential element in our town’s identity even if festivities have been put on pause this year.

Inclusion and fairness

The notes from the second theme represent some local organisations going out of their way to promote well-being through inclusion, fairness and celebration of key milestones.

The LP5 note marks the success of the Donate-a-Drink scheme that the Lewes Pound has developed with Depot Cinema, which allows anyone buying a drink or food there to make a donation of £3 for food bank users.

The LP1 notes feature voluntary arts organisation Patina, and Lewes Football Club. Patina’s flagship activity is the Moving On Parade through Lewes each July, which celebrates local children’s transition from primary to secondary school. Meanwhile we salute the Rooks for their commitment to equal pay for their male and female players. What an example for others to emulate and for us to celebrate.

The final theme looks to the future with some positive responses to the climate emergency we face. The LP5 note features some of the artwork by Lewes Extinction Rebellion that has appeared around town over the past year or so. We always like to run a schools’ competition for one of our notes and are delighted that Cycle Lewes has endorsed with its logo our winning student’s design for an LP1 note featuring a cyclist and a wildflower meadow. Finally we decided to bring out another note featuring community energy company OVESCO and its commitment to renewable energy – a great local success story.

Finally, the new LP10 note is dedicated to Dr Colin Tingle and features Tingles Way – a self-guided route created in his memory which links the South Downs with Lewes. Colin was a much loved member of the Lewes Pound team before his untimely death and he was a major influence on our ground-breaking Lewes Neighbourhood Plan with its ecosystem services approach.

This approach lays out an inspiring route map for developing Lewes while protecting and enhancing its natural capital and gives us all good reason to hope that all that is unique about Lewes will still be here for our children and grandchildren. That is a lot for one small note to celebrate and bring to mind as we face an uncertain future, but hope for a better one.

Getting your Lewes Pounds
You can exchange sterling for Lewes Pounds at the usual issuing points or you can set up a standing order to get LPs regularly with a bonus LP1 for every 20 you buy.

We hope to see our beautiful new notes in circulation very soon and hope they will help to raise our spirits and point to a better future as we cope with the next stage of the pandemic. Together we will survive and thrive as we recognise just how much our town has to offer.