Helping the Bristol Pound be more inclusive and diverse: what happened at the Members’ Meetup in January?

Last week, the Mild West room at Hamilton House was buzzing as 30 people came together to discuss inclusivity at the first Bristol Pound meet up. There was a lot of energy in the room and as usual, more ideas than we had time to explore. Thanks to all who came and offered their valuable ideas, opinions and experience. Here’s a round up of what we discussed and what we plan to do about it:

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Survey results: what you think about the Bristol Pound

 

We asked Bristol Pound members to share their views on Bristol’s local currency and we – the staff team –  really enjoyed hearing what you had to say about your experiences of using it, what you love about it and what could be improved.

Here’s what individual members said:

Benefits of £B

75% of you spend with Bristol Pound because you love supporting Bristol’s local independent businesses.

“One of the many sustainable and beautiful aspects which make me proud of this great city.”

We agree it’s an important part of using Bristol Pounds and, although it’s not like Bristol is short of independent businesses, it’s a great way of making sure they’re all here to stay.

 

Changed purchasing experience Qu

“Paying by text meant I could buy lunch in town (at the Folkhouse) when I left my wallet at home.”

It’s great to see that so many of you are finding it a really positive experience using Bristol Pound but it’s also important for us to hear about how we could improve your experiences.

From what you’ve told us, we’ve identified that the areas we need to focus on are:

1. Making payments easier
2. Continuing to support businesses
3. Getting more people involved across Bristol

We’re going to work on these things to try to make using the Bristol Pound as easy, enjoyable and worthwhile as possible!

46% of you are spending most of your Bristol Pounds on everyday and essential items.

Compared to only 10% who spend most on non-essential and occasional items. This goes to show that many of you are incorporating Bristol Pounds into your everyday spending which is fantastic and a sure way of having a big impact.

Over one in ten Bristol Pound members use Bristol Pounds to pay for council tax and bills. Using Bristol Pounds for these large, regular payments is such an easy way of spending Bristol Pounds, without even really having to think about it. If you’re not already, it’s definitely something to consider.

Here’s what business members had to say:

Spend with

76% of businesses spend their Bristol Pounds with other local businesses. Also over half of them said using the Bristol Pound has positively changed their relationship with other local businesses and for the majority of them has created more local business to business trading. This means more local supply chains created by Bristol Pounds!

“It’s my first port of call when seeking local suppliers”

Offer £B as change

When it came to asking the businesses what they do with their Bristol Pounds, the majority admitted they don’t offer them in change to customers. Although sometimes this might be because they don’t have any to offer at the time, don’t be afraid to ask!

75% of businesses never transfer the Bristol Pounds they receive into sterling and 16% only do so occasionally.

As much as we’d hope to see all businesses re-spending all their Bristol Pounds, in practise this isn’t always possible. We will continue to support those businesses struggling to re-spend but having 91% of businesses who never or very occasionally transfer their Bristol Pounds into sterling is great.

Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey and to you all for your continued support of the Bristol Pound. There were lots of really useful comments, suggestions and ideas for improvements which we’re going to take on-board and use to help us plan.

Big congratulations go to Niall who was the winner of the prize draw.

Want to add something? Comment below and let us know…

Could you be a member representative?

Are you passionate about the Bristol Pound? Could you represent the views of individual or business members?

The Bristol Pound Community Interest Company has a board of directors who set the direction and shape the development of the Bristol Pound. Two board positions are reserved for member representatives – one representing individuals and one representing businesses.

Could you be Bristol Pound’s individual member or business member representative? Find out more details and apply:

http://bristolpound.org/library/Annual_Gathering_2015/Election_of_member_representatives_brief.pdf

This is a great opportunity to help make the Bristol Pound even stronger, developing the future direction of the Bristol Pound and the wider work of the Community Interest Company. You should be a keen user of the Bristol Pound and ready to engage with others to represent their views.

Both roles will be elected at the Annual Gathering of members on Tuesday 3 November for a period of two years. Board meetings happen every two months in Bristol city centre.

Deadline for initial applications is 12 noon on 30 October.

Find out more about the role and apply:
http://bristolpound.org/library/Annual_Gathering_2015/Election_of_member_representatives_brief.pdf

Bristol Pound users from across the city are coming together to discuss the future of the Bristol Pound, and elect their representatives, at the Annual Gathering on Tue 3 Nov at Hamilton House, Stokes Croft. There are still places available. Book your free ticket now: http://bristolpound.org/events?id=135