Could Sift be the best place to work in Bristol…?

Written by Carolyn Hair, author of 

Sift employees with their £B10 printed pounds!

…well I can’t say for sure (and have no scientific evidence to back this up) but I think it must be in the running after its CEO, Ben Heald, rewarded his employees in a particularly Bristol fashion.

After a quarter of beating budgets, Ben wanted to give a little something back to his employees. But coming from an innovative, creative Bristol business, he felt it needed a twist. So, all 130 of the Sift team were rewarded with a beautiful, crisp Bristol Pound tenner. You couldn’t get a much more Bristolian gesture, with those iconic coloured houses on one side of the paper 10 pound, and philanthropist and playwright, Hannah Moore, and the Bristol Old Vic on the other. I asked Ben why he’d chosen this quirky thank-you:

“There were two drivers – to do something memorable and thoughtful – and also to help promote Bristol Pound. There’s no better way than giving 130 people the real thing!”

The Sift team were surprised and intrigued, and for many it was a walk into virginal Bristol Pound territory. Andy Price said, “I liked them, and it gave me an excuse to use places that I may not otherwise have bothered to seek out or go to.” He headed to The Fish Shop on Gloucester Road and one of the greengrocers: “I made ling chowder and octopus salad. It was ridiculous.” Ask us round next time Andy please…

Culinary delights were on the agenda for Jon Kennard too, who spent his tenner at the Arnolfini bar and, the Big Banana Juice Bar and Royce Rolls in St Nicks. He said, “I love them – been a long time since I’ve seen a one pound note! I’ll use them when I can, mostly for lunch and the like.”

£B10 Printed Bristol Pound with Hannah Moore (anti-slavery campaigner) in front of Bristol Old Vic (the oldest working theatre in UK)

When I asked Ben what the local currency meant to him as a Bristol business-owner he said, “it’s great publicity for the city, plays to the localism agenda that is so important and also fun.” He continued:

“I carry Bristol Pounds with me all the time and always try it first locally before reverting to Sterling.  I have to say as yet it is only a minority of shops that take it, but I figure that every time I proffer Bristol Pounds I’m doing my bit to promote the currency. I have also been known to walk out of some places if I think they should take Bristol Pound, and I’m also boycotting one Welsh Back favourite lunch spot until they start accepting it!”

Well I’d just like to say to the mentioned restaurant on Welsh Back (you know who you are), please get in touch with us. It looks as if you’re missing out on a potential £B lunchtime rush…

Bristol – we challenge you!

We know times are tough, but if you can why not reward your hard-working staff Sift Digital style? It’s good for team morale, the local economy, and you’ll get a warm, fuzzy feeling from knowing you’re helping to make Bristol better. Or why not offer a friend the present of £B10?

How would you spend a Bristol Pound tenner? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.


WTF?! The 1000th Bristol Pound account holder is….

Written by Haley Pearson.

Whoa, what was that? I just heard something…pretty loud! Like, booms and bangs, shouts of delerium simultaneously emanating from all over Bristol.

Oh I know! It’s the sound of the Bristol Pound’s ONE THOUSANDTH ACCOUNT being opened! Like a huge, important door blasting apart, full of excitement, growth and realised potential! Who, you might ask, is the wondrous person whose dream of spending and earning Bristol Pounds has caused so much excitement? Turns out she’s just about as amazing as £B itself, a huge contributor to Bristol culture, entertainment and energy, the one and only Jane Duffus!

Jane Duffus may be known better to some of you as the amazing brain behind What The Frock! women’s comedy nights at The Square but she is so very much more than that. She has so much on her plate that I reckon she needs one of those massive big plates they give you at carveries. We met up recently so I could anoint her officially as the 1000th Bristol Pound account member and present her with a priceless trophy, the £1B design by Jethro Brice on a beautiful Stokes Croft Pottery mug and a £B tote bag! I wanted to know more about the enigmatic woman behind the cultural phenomenon that is WTF! and understand more about how £B benefits look to a newly joined business.

What motivated you to seek a Bristol Pound account for What The Frock!?

As an independent Bristol company, it is very important to me to support other independent traders and cultural establishments. Taking on Bristol Pound is a way of putting my own business to work for everyone else. If we all work together the independent business ecosystem of Bristol will continue to thrive.

How do you use Bristol Pounds yourself?

It’s a great way to explore areas of Bristol day-to-day. I love walking and shopping locally, and by seeking out Bristol Pound traders I’ve discovered new places to try that I didn’t realize were so close to my home in Victoria Park. Finding out that pubs and shops I already frequent accept Bristol Pound was a great bonus!

That’s great! What are your favourite shops and bars that take Bristol Pound?

There is nothing better than a glass of white wine by the harbour at Arnolfini, and their little pizzas are delicious. Nearer my house is Mrs Brown’s Cafe where a cuppa and a cake go down very nicely after a walk. Culturally, @Bristol is a definite favourite with their stop-motion projects, which are just as fun for grown-ups as for kids. And I can’t miss out 20th Century Flicks, they have a selection and service that is unbeatable.

Is there something specific about Bristol that ignites your curiosity and passion?

I am a serious nerd for suffragette and suffragist history. Very few people know that Bristol was one of the centres for the movement, and I’m working with the Festival of Ideas on a museum exhibition slated for production in a few years time.I’m also working with a Bristol-based publisher on a history of funny women, a very interesting project with a lot of collaborators.

Finally, why have you decided to nominate your Labrador Rachel to receive the £B 1000th member prize in your stead?

-The first anniversary of WTF! was only a couple of weeks ago and I was very much in the public eye as I promoted our various birthday events. I felt that Rachel deserved her moment in the limelight and to have a prize for herself!

Rachel, have you any comment on your beautiful prize?


And there you have it! A thrilling milestone, a fascinating Bristolian, and a happy, caffeinated dog.