The Lewes Pound is pleased to announce that the new 2020 issue of our currency will launch on 25th September. Normally this would be a time for new beginnings, but this year it all seems a lot more precarious and many of us are feeling anxious. However, our wellbeing demands that we find reasons to celebrate and feel good about ourselves and our community. That’s why we have decided to go ahead with bringing out a new issue of the Lewes Pound, even though the use of paper money is currently reduced (the WHO and the Bank of England do advise that currency does not pose a significant risk). We acknowledge that some businesses and residents may be slow to return to paper money and that therefore usage of the Lewes Pound may be low for a while yet. 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.
As ever the new LP21 will celebrate Bonfire. It seems probable that it won’t go ahead this year but our exciting new design reminds us that it represents a key feature of our local identity. Meanwhile the new LP10 is dedicated to Colin Tingle and features Tingles Way created in his memory and linking the South Downs with Lewes. Colin was a much loved member of the Lewes Pound team before his untimely death and we still miss him. More importantly, though, he was a major influence on our groundbreaking Lewes Neighbourhood Plan with its ecosystem services approach. The plan lays out an inspiring route map for protecting, enhancing and developing Lewes and gives us all good reason to hope that all that is unique about Lewes will still be here for our children and grandchildren.
We wanted our new notes to tell a story about Lewes and about the aims of our local currency and thus the LP5s and LP1s fall into 3 themed groups. The first group is about celebrating Lewes, its independent businesses and its tourist attractions. All of these have taken a hard hit during the pandemic so 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. We are delighted that Lewes District Council has provided some artwork featuring local shops on the LP1 and Lewes visitor attractions on the LP5 and 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.
The next set represent some local organisations going out of their way to promote wellbeing through inclusion, fairness and celebration of key milestones. The LP5 marks the success of the Donate-a-Drink that the Lewes Pound has developed with the Depot, whereby when buying a drink or food there you can make a donation of £3 for food bank users. The idea is that they then have a chance to do some of the little things that many of us take for granted, but that are normally outside their budget. They can spend them on a film or a meal at the Depot, but we have been touched by so many other stories, like the woman who for the first time ever was able to go to Bags of Books and buy books for her grandchildren. The LP1s feature Patina and Lewes football club, both struggling to operate in the usual way right now, but still inspiring with their ethos. Patina reaches every child, whatever their background, moving on from primary to secondary education and 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.
Finally we look to the future with some positive responses to the climate emergency we face. It certainly hasn’t gone away while we have all been obsessed by the pandemic, rather the situation has become even more urgent. The LP5 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 design for an LP1 featuring a cyclist and a wildflower meadow. There is also another note featuring OVESCO and its commitment to renewable energy – a great local success story.
We hope to see our beautiful new notes in circulation very soon, but if not we hope they will do their bit 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.