The Lewes Pound is just another form of money isn’t it?

The Lewes Pound is a currency, yes – but it is also something much more: it is a powerful way to raise awareness about the way we spend money and the fact that a pound spent locally keeps building wealth as it circulates, instead of leaking out to the global economy. Longer term, the Lewes Pound will build economic resilience by supporting local businesses and producers, reducing our carbon footprint and helping unemployed and underemployed people.

How do you spend it?

You spend the Lewes Pound in any of the participating outlets. However, it can also be used for any payments within the Lewes community if the recipient is willing to accept them. So feel free to use them to pay for any goods or services, as gifts or pocket money or any other way that seems to make sense!

Shops are encouraged to pay their local suppliers with it as well as their employees if the employees are willing to accept it. It should then be treated as a taxable benefit.

How do I account for this at the end of the day in my till?

In the same way as you would account for pounds sterling. Each Lewes Pound can potentially be exchanged for a pound sterling and has the same book value. Any Lewes Pound remaining in the till at the end of the day should be kept in the next day’s float. Larger amounts can be used to pay suppliers or employees, or can be used by the trader for his/her own purchases, while as a last resort, they can always be traded back into sterling.

Is it legal?

It is legal as a voucher, but it is not legal tender. This means that there is no obligation to accept it and it will only be accepted in participating outlets.

From a tax perspective, anything paid for in Lewes Pounds is accounted for in the same way as a pound sterling.

Where can I buy it?

You can buy the Lewes pound in any one of the issuing outlets shown on this map>>>

Where can I spend it?

You can spend it in any of the participating stores. These stores will indicate on their shop window whether they take the Lewes Pound. The participating stores are listed here>>>

What is it worth?

One Lewes Pound is worth one Pound Sterling.

Is it safe?

The Lewes pound note is printed on high security paper with watermarks, serial numbers and other hidden security features.

How do you keep it in circulation?

By using it! As change, to pay local traders, suppliers, employees or even friends, to make charitable donations to local organisations, etc..

Isn’t the currency just going to appeal to the usual suspects?

Probably yes at the outset, but the currency is  better known and more commonly used. As a result, it is starting to spread throughout the Lewes community. Also, the Lewes Pound is often given to individuals and charities as gifts, which will ensure wider use.

Complementary currencies really come in to their own as social support mechanisms during economic recession, times of inflation and unemployment.

Isn’t it just silly money? Pounds aren’t going to make a difference.

While the number of Lewes Pounds released is minimal compared to the size of the Lewes econom, it punches far above its weight since it continually circulates, it does not sit in a bank. A single Lewes Pound passes through far more hands – in exchange for goods and services – than a pound sterling, and remains in the local economy.

It is also a powerful marketing tool since it helps the residents of Lewes understand some of the challenges we are facing and the benefits of a focus on local resilience.

In the longer-term, if the Lewes Pound proves to be successful, it will have a much bigger impact as more Lewes Pounds are released in the community, similar to the situation the US county of Berkshare, which has a similar population size as Lewes and where over $1.5 Million have been issued or the WIR in Switzerland which is used by 16% of Swiss businesses.

Is this going to replace sterling?

No, it is a complementary currency, not an alternative currency. The aim of it is to ensure that we emphasise the availability and quality of locally produced goods and locally owned businesses, without turning away from the benefits that a more globalised economy can also bring.

What happens to the sterling pounds that are taken when people buy Lewes Pounds? 

All Sterling pounds are held in a safe deposit box with a local bank, so that we can access them at any time should people wish to trade their Lewes Pounds back into Sterling.

Will the introduction of Lewes Pounds not have an inflationary effect?

No, as there is not additional currency added to the total pool because for each Lewes Pound that is brought into circulation a Pound Sterling is taken out of circulation.

It won’t work if I can only spend it in local shops as there are a lot of products I can only get in chains

There are some products that are more likely to be found in chains, but you would be surprised at the quantity and quality of products available in local shops. And contrary to popular belief, local shops are not necessarily more expensive. Why not give it a try?

Why isolate ourselves?

We’re not isolating ourselves but we’re building resilience from the environmental and economic challenges ahead while strengthening our community. We still welcome many aspects of the national and global economies, without which we would not be able to thrive as a community.

Why is Lewes doing this alone?

Lewes is one of a growing number of communities creating their own currency. There’s nothing new about complementary currencies, and there are hundreds of them in circulation around the world. We are incubating ideas for Lewes and other communities to copy and adapt for their own community resilience during times of economic change.

Isn’t this just a great way for people to make money out of their community?

All the work done to date on the Lewes Pound has been volunteered. We have clear audit trails and we abide by the principles of Transition Town Lewes, which include transparency and collaboration.

What happens to the current Lewes Pounds that are time limited?

• You can still use the current Lewes Pounds as normal.

• You will also be able to exchange them for the new notes after the next launch (no date as yet)

• Or redeem them for £1 sterling.

We will be posting more details once a new printing has been decided

How long will the new Lewes Pounds be valid for?

The new Lewes Pounds will be valid for five years.

How is the Lewes Pound initiative funded?

The Lewes Pound initiative is funded through support from local businesses, grants and leakage of Lewes Pounds. (Leakage is the sale of Lewes Pounds to people who do not intend to spend them but wish to keep them for their collectable or souvenir value. If necessary, the Sterling value of these pounds, which are kept in a bank account, can be used to fund any future initiative).