An innovative bid to give Sheffield its very own currency – to boost the independent business scene and keep more money in local communities – has been launched.
Organisers of the Sheffield Pound project say the scheme could help people ‘show pride’ in the city and stop cash leaking out of it.
The currency would exist alongside national tender rather than replacing it and residents could use it in shops or firms that had signed up for the initiative.
Businessman Louis Read, spokesman for the project, said: “The whole idea is to keep more money in the city and keep more money circulation in the city’s economy.
“It works alongside sterling, but as a consumer if you were to use Sheffield Pound at a business you are almost making a statement that you are supporting a Sheffield based business, you are showing your pride in the city.
“You are creating wealth and jobs.”
Other UK cities and areas have embraced local currency schemes, including Bristol and Brixton.
Benefits includes businesses, as well as shoppers, spending more with local firms to create a ‘circulation’ of money in the economy.
To bring one to fruition in Sheffield will at first involve Sheffield Pound consulting at length with local businesses and residents.
If the scheme is welcomed they would aim to unite with a credit union and then raise cash to fund the initiative.
A long term aim would be to boost Sheffield’s much-loved independent businesses further.
Louis, aged 29 and of Gleadless Valley, added: “There are great independent businesses in Sheffield but at the same time you can see the privatisation of the city centre which is going on, independent businesses being priced out.
“If you shop on Fargate or The Moor at the big businesses there that money is going overseas.
“Sheffield Money is about pride, it is about us having a fantastic history and community in Sheffield and I think that can be celebrated with a currency.”
And if the scheme was realised, there are already ideas in the pipeline for what could feature on the coin.
Louis, who said he realised there would be ‘naysayers’ but stressed the scheme was a choice people could make, added: “Someone has said it would be nice if we could use the faces of ordinary people, not celebrities, and someone else said that instead of paper we could have stainless steel coins.”
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