Spending Bristol Pounds on Gloucester Road just got easier with a new map

Gloucester Road map on the counter at Playfull Toyshop

There is now a beautiful new map of the Gloucester Road, showing all the businesses who accept Bristol Pounds alongside artwork from residents in the local area.

Gloucester Road is the longest independent high street in Britain, and arguably the best. You can get just about anything you need from an independent shop on the road. Unsurprisingly then, it is a great place to go if you use Bristol Pounds – a whopping 55 of the businesses on the road trade in Bristol’s money. Gloucester Road is a hub of creativity, with many local artists’ work displayed in galleries and on outside walls alike.

Artwork on the map has been created by local artists and provided by Gloucester Road Central, a local traders’ association, who are running a project to put the artists’ work on banners hanging from lampposts up and down the road.

Gloucester Road map outside Room 212 with owner Sarah Thorpe

Adam Rich, Communications Manager at the Bristol Pound: “Gloucester Road is a lifeline of independent Bristol and a hub of creativity – the new Gloucester Road map is a celebration of these things, while also being a practical tool to help you spend your money in a way which benefits the city.”

The Bristol Pound is an alternative currency which encourages spending in independent shops, while also changing the way money works. Bristolians open a Bristol Pound account and change their Sterling money into the local currency. They can then spend Bristol Pounds online, using their phone or withdraw paper Bristol Pound notes. Those without an account can still use Bristol Pounds, by swapping Sterling notes at the till of a business called a Bristol Pound ‘Cash Point’. A list of these can be found on the Bristol Pound website.

Mr Rich goes on to explain: “Bristol Pound members don’t want to be taken for a ride any more. We don’t want chain stores or corporate banks taking a big slice of the profits, carting it off and dumping it in the pockets of the 1%. By using local money in independent shops in Bristol, we are taking back control of our economy and keeping money in the city for the benefit of the people.”

The Gloucester Road map is available for free at any of the Bristol Pound businesses on the road, and at the Tourist Information Centre on the Waterfront.

Find out more about the Bristol Pound and sign up for an account at www.bristolpound.org

Inequality: the nexus of wealth and debt by Frances Coppola

Debt

https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/austerity-media/frances-coppola/inequality-nexus-of-wealth-and-debt

Frances Coppola hits the nail on the head in focusing on the impact of debt on our lives and how unnecessary it should be. He describes many ways to avoid the debt structured economy we have, which ends up dictating and impoverishing so many people. The solutions are out there for national governments through taxation and governments investing in its citizens’ education and general well-being, but in truth the evidence is that most governments in rich countries actively encourage the build up of personal debt.

David Graeber’s video on the relationship between government debt and private debt is a must see on this issue too. Debt, for millions of ordinary people, forces people in to work which they may not have chosen to otherwise do, and for much of their lives . When debt with interest is not a choice for most people who need a home and to get an education, I think it is immoral and probably makes for poor productivity too.

This piece is highly recommended reading, with one caveat – I think he misses the issue of interest on debt almost completely. The matter of interest changes fundamentally the nature of debt and is something that at Bristol Pound we hope to take head on in the near future through giving zero interest credit or loans to businesses that join our scheme.

Ciaran Mundy  – CEO Bristol Pound CIC