5 ways to help you be a hero this Christmas – take the Bristol Pound Christmas Challenge!

There’s no denying it: ‘tis the festive season. And for many of us that means getting gifts for loved ones and gathering goodies to enjoy over the festive period. Bristol’s streets are a-buzzing with merriment.

There’s something you can do to make the season of gift-buying and goodie-gathering a whole heap more fun for you, better for Bristol AND the global economy.

Use Bristol Pounds!

Take up the challenge and spread the love this season. Switch that Sterling for beautiful Bristol Pounds, then when you go spend it you’ll be building and protecting what we all love about Bristol, and helping make our city fairer, greener and more vibrant.

Here at Bristol Pound HQ we want to make this as easy as possible for everyone so we’ve put together 5 ways to help you be a hero this Christmas. I’ve added links, so if you like what you see, give it a click to find out more:

  1. The Bristol Pound advent calendar. We’re putting together a giant advent calendar and popping it in the St Nicks Market foyer. Each day, we’ll open the next door to reveal a special deal for Bristol Pound users to help you with your shopping! What’s that? You won’t be able to join us in the St Nick’s foyer every morning throughout December? Well okay, we’ll post it up on social media each morning too! Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date.
  2. The Bristol Pound Christmas market. We’re arranging a day of festivity on the 10th December at the Bristol Energy Hub on the waterfront. We’ll have: local craft and produce stalls; live music; free mince pies; Caring at Christmas are doing a wrapping service; you can win a Real Economy hamper; you can pick up the latest Bristol Pound business map and you can find out more about all the things you can do with Bristol Pounds (I can guarantee you don’t know all the things you can do with Bristol Pounds!). Plus, we’re right next to the Harbourside Market, where plenty of folk take the Bristol Pound. More info here.poster-for-christmas-market-620px 
  3. Our new Bristol Pound Map of central Bristol – more detailed than ever, stretching from Temple Meads to the Grain Barge and from Wapping Wharf to the Bear Pit, you’ll find 128 shops, pubs, cafes, hair dressers, homeware stores, florists, and much, much more. We’ll be handing them out at the market, but also sending one out to every Bristol Pound member.img_20161122_122219
  4. Indies in Bristol – a brand-new, city-wide event to celebrate Bristol’s amazing independent businesses and encourage Bristolians to shop local for Christmas. The main hub is in the Station courtyard (The Old Fire Station) in the city centre, where a central traders market of gifts, street food and a bar will be based. We’ll have a Bristol Pound ‘bank’ at the entrance of the event for your to switch to Bristol Pounds. Plus, we’re also doing a talk at 12.45. See you there! More info here.indies-in-bristol-poster-web-620px 
  5. Bristol Pound Trail – as part of the Indies in Bristol event, we’ve put together a pretty special little trail for you to follow – it’s a neat little trip in and around St Nick’s Market. Start at Beast Clothing to pick up your Bristol Pounds (they’re a ‘cash point’) – you can switch Sterling notes, pay on card or withdraw from your Bristol Pound account. Then visit a bunch of businesses waiting to give you discounts and offers if you use Bristol Pounds! More info here.bristol-pound-trail-banner-620px 

It’s easier than ever to do the Bristol Pound Christmas Challenge this year – so let’s change our money, change the world and have ourselves a jolly good time doing it.

Adam and the Bristol Pound team


The Big Short Film – abstract economy, real economy.


It was great to see the Cube Cinema packed out with around one hundred people on Sunday 6th November, all wanting to learn about and discuss the causes of the 2008 financial crisis and whether anything has changed in the finance industry since. We watched The Big Short Film, which I was pleasantly surprised to find, offered a fairly accurate portrayal of what happened leading up to the 2008 crisis, well-acted by a cast of highly regarded celebrities. The incredibly dramatic and testosterone fuelled financial industry was well suited to a fast-paced drama. In amongst the drama, the film used models and actresses to explain the key economic terms in a casual way, while taking a bubble bath or drinking a glass of champagne. This was an attempt to make things like Collateral Debt Obligation and subprime mortgages understandable to the everyday audience – however, despite the attempt, the film left with more questions than they had answered.

My main question was articulated well by Kit Beazley, the UK Head of Finance and Risk at Triodos Bank, in the passionate and informative panel discussion between himself and Molly Scott Cato, (the Green Party MEP for the South West) chaired by the Director of Bristol Pound CIC, Ciaran Mundy. He asked, “Why didn’t anyone notice? Or was everyone too tied up in it to do anything about it, and therefore they hid it instead.” Molly also explained that it is very easy to get sucked into the excitement of money creation and gambling on debt, so that many people in the industry lose sight of morality and the reality of what they are doing. She is very keen to keep her moral compass when working in politics.

This theme was demonstrated in the film when Ben Rickert, played by Brad Pitt, said “‘Have you any idea what we just did? We just bet against the American economy which means that people will lose their jobs, people will lose their retirement savings and lose their pensions. Do you know what I hate about f***ing banking? It reduced people to numbers. A 1% increase in unemployment equals 44 thousand people dead.”

Kit explained that banking had lost its purpose – “Banking is supposed to be the life blood of the economy – the mechanism whereby the people who have got some money and want to do something worthwhile with it can lend it to some people who have got a good idea. When you get into CDO’s and synthetic credit swaps and synthetic CDOs that is just about making money out of money, it is not about the real economy.”

So, although the film had left me feeling confused – after the panel discussion I knew that my confusion had been caused by a certain disbelief that so many people were part of the creation of the financial crisis without being aware of what they were doing. I think the problem lies in the fact that things like CDOs and synthetic credit swaps are so far away from the real economy, and what banking and money are meant to be about, that many people working in the industry are ignorant of what the things they are dealing in represent in real terms. Their work becomes something totally abstract, and it is easy to be flippant about the abstract, as it doesn’t seem to mean anything. But in the real economy, money is worth what you pay for food, for fuel, for clothes. Savings and pension funds are a result of real people’s time. They are not to be played with.

This shift in mindset from the abstract to the real, all three panellists agreed, is the most crucial thing for the financial industry in creating a more fair and sustainable economy. It is difficult for the majority of us to tell whether that has changed at all since 2008 – so it is our role to make the change and shift money back to what it is meant to be, to bring our economy back to the real economy.

Laurie King is the Community Liaison Manager at the Bristol Pound. You can find her profile on our team page