Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Local Currency Action - Conference

Adrian from our transition neighbours in New Cross has recently posted up details on the yahoo group of an interesting and transition-related event happening at Utrophia on Deptford. Creating local currencies is one of the aspects of the transition town model which has attracted a lot of interest in recent years with areas such as Brixton, Totnes, Lewes, Stroud and recently Bristol all starting up their own local currency. There's a short video about the Brixton Pound below for your enjoyment and enlightenment.

Event details
Date: Saturday 18th February 2012
Time: 11am - 6pm
Venue: Utrophia, 120 Deptford High Street (opposite the train carriage)

The Local Currency Action-Conference will look at the role of money in
an economy, and how a local currency can be harnessed to promote small
businesses, entrepreneurship and a stronger local economy and identity.
The first part of the day will consist of three speakers, from different
community initiatives, who will introduce the participants to the
concepts of money, local currencies and credit unions - “community
banks” -, and the roles these play in building stronger communities
and engaged economies. The second part of the day will consist of
participants breaking out into smaller groups to look at particular
aspects of creating a local currency; these groups will discuss an
action plan for their respective topics, eventually coming back together
to feedback to the whole group (the plenary). The aim of the
action-conference is to provide an informative and lively introduction
to community finance to those interested in listening, and then
developing a concept of a local currency that could be rolled-out in
Deptford and New Cross for those interested in doing. At the end, it is
hoped that we will have a blue-print to start working on making a local
currency a reality.

Starting 11am
11:30 - 12:00 James - Understanding Money
12:00 -13:00 Simon Woolf - Brixton
13:30 - 14:30 - Lunchtime Band
[DNX video]
14:30 - 15:00 - Maria Drury - Credit Unions
15:00 - 17:00 - Breakout Session Discussions
17:00 - 18:00 - Plenary Feedback
18:00 - 19:00 - Core Group Action Discussion

The Speakers:
James - Understanding Money
James, an economist, will provide a light-hearted start to the
conference with a number of anecdotal stories and games to demonstrate
just what money is and how it works. He will cover the function and
development of money - the exchange commodity, what it has become, the
feelings it evokes in us and why an alternative currency may be preferable.

Simon Woolf - The Brixton Pound
William is the Managing Director of the Brixton Pound, a successful
local currency initiative which is in its 3rd year of existence. He will
provide the real-life story of how they set up the Brixton �, the
pit-falls they hit and the successes they achieved, as well as telling
us just what it takes to develop one of our own.

Maria Drury - Deptford-New Cross Credit Union (branch of the Lewisham
Plus CU)
Maria is the credit union branch manager in Deptford-New Cross, who has
been a long-time community activist, setting up numerous initiatives to
improve the quality of life for those living in New Cross and Deptford.
She will talk about the role of credit unions in strengthening community
bonds, providing accessible and responsible finance, and building
democratic and sustainable local services.

As the financial crisis starts to hit, local communities need to build
their resilience in the face of cuts, inflation and exploitative big
business. New Cross and Deptford are two communities that will be hit by
the recession, especially the poorest, and therefore the community need
to start finding ways of tackling the effects of gentrification, the
invasion of multinational supermarkets and retail chains and high levels
of unemployment and poverty. One means to meet the challenge is the
implementation of a local currency, which will support small,
independent businesses, work opportunities and entrepreneurship, as the
money flows within the area, enabling more transactions and exchanges of
value locally. Another is to support community-based banks, such as
credit unions, which encourage saving and provide responsible loans, as
well as being locally controlled and accountable.

Local finance can assist in the following ways:

1] Provide a medium of exchange which can only be used locally, thus
encouraging trade in the locality, develop a constant recycling of value
within the community, and preventing the community's wealth from leaving
the area.

2] Provide a means to pay for local services - eg caring, gardening,
repairs - thus encouraging members of the community to provide
employment, work opportunities and skill-share to other members.

3] Strengthen a sense of local identity with a currency which celebrates
local heroes, events and landmarks.

4] Encourage a responsible attitude to savings, lending and purchasing,
with supportive local financial institutions, which are democratic,
accountable and transparent.

No comments:

Post a Comment