Seventy delegates representing currency schemes from around the country gathered in Bristol in November for the UK’s first conference of independent currencies. Four of us attended from Grand Union (GURCA – Grand Union Regional Currency Association – our working title). Transition in Kings (TiK) has led this initiative, so far.
GURCA includes an area running from Ricksmansworth, up the Gade Valley and Grand Union Canal, to Tring and includes local authorities in Three Rivers, Watford, St Albans and Dacorum.
The main aims of a local currency are economic independence and insulation from a national currency that is misused by bankers and government, local economic development, micro-credit which can be impossible in Sterling, taking control of our future on a regional basis and encouraging local trading and independence from international corporations.
From the starting keynote speech by Transition Network founder, Rob Hopkins, the conference was buzzing with the excitement of setting up of the Guild of Independent Currencies, an organisation to support this new wave of independent currencies inspired by existing schemes in Totnes, Lewes, Brixton and Bristol.
Attendee academic Joanna Grey – Professor of Financial Law and Regulation at Birmingham University – wrote, “I wanted to let you know how invigorating, fascinating and affirming I found your conference.”
Presentations were made by many of the currency projects that attended, including Exeter, Cardiff, Taunton, Brixton, Lewes, Southampton, Kingston, Brighton, Grand Union, Liverpool, Totnes and even Madison in Wisconsin.
Also unveiled was the Bristol Pound’s latest project, supported by InnovateUK, to help set up new independent currencies and incorporate them into a supportive network where smaller schemes can work together and exchange between them.
“My feet have not touched the ground since I got back to Alderney (Channel Islands). The whole Conference from my point of view was an incredible success. It inspired, it informed and I don’t think there is now any turning back,” said Tony Haywood from Alderney.
Delegates participated in a series of practical workshops run by the Bristol Pound team covering various topics related to setting up a new currency.
Graham Woodruff, Technical Director for Bristol Pound, who organised the event said “We were all blown away by the enthusiasm of all the attendees and, since the conference, we are still being contacted by new groups springing up in the UK, and beyond, who want to set up currencies to support their own local economy, businesses and communities.”
The TiK Economy “Circle”, or Steering Group, is planning the next steps, which will include the incorporation of a community enterprise, an economic plan and more volunteers to join the Steering Group.
Please contact Jeremy Dent on 07710 191550 if you, or anyone you know, is interested.