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".
On 30 June 2019 the Totnes Pound was closed, due its declining usage caused partly by the rise of the cashless society.
The anticipated benefits of the Totnes Pound were:
- 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 t£1, t£5, t£10 and t£21. The final designs feature author Mary Wesley, 'father of the computer' Charles Babbage, musician Ben Howard and social activist and philanthropist Dorothy Elmhirst.
Description of notes
- 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[permanent dead link] (retrieved 20 June 2008)
- Transition Town Totnes Archived 2008-04-17 at the Wayback Machine, April 2008
- The Totnes Pound Project Archived 2008-04-28 at the Wayback Machine, April 2008
- "Totnes pound: Currency killed by 'cashless economy'". BBC News Website. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
- "Meet the new faces of local currency". 28 May 2014. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014.
- Woodruff, Graham. "Totnes Pound".
- "Banknotes, local currencies and central bank objectives" (PDF). Bank of England. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
- "Security Features". Totnes Pound. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
- "They don't just shop local in Totnes - they have their very own currency", The Independent, 1 May 2008 (accessed 20 June 2008)]