THE CURATOR of Coventry Music Museum and proud Coventrian Pete Chambers BEM is calling for the city to have its own community currency to encourage people to spend their cash locally.
Pete said he wanted to hear people’s views on the idea and has set up a Facebook page so residents could have their say.
“During this – the City of Culture year – people have been thinking more about their local area.
“I think people have even felt like tourists in their own city sometimes – and I mean that in a good way.
“When I went into the Assembly Festival Gardens for the first time and into the Midsummer Fire Gardens in Caludon Castle Park it felt almost like I was on holiday.”
A local currency complements a national one, rather than replacing it. People could change their pounds sterling to Coventry Pounds (at a 1:1 ratio) and – being legal tender locally – people could spend it at city businesses and venues. They would then be encouraged to pass on the Coventry Pounds to other local businesses, for example when they were buying stock and produce or going out to pubs, clubs and restaurants.
Pete added: “We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘lend us a Lady Godiva’ – that would be even more fitting if we had a Coventry Currency.
“As well as encouraging local trade and supporting independent businesses, the notes would also be great collectors’ items and souvenirs and a way to get people engaged on what or who should be on our Godiva banknotes (Godiva would have to be on the fiver surely). ”
He added people could suggest who deserved to be on each nomination and local schools, colleges and artists could be tasked with designing the individual notes through a competition.
Other areas which have had community currency in the past include Bristol, Brixton and Lewes in East Sussex.
Pete now wants people to like or follow the Facebook page and put forward their ideas for and opinions on Coventry Currency to gauge public opinion.
People can click here for the Facebook page and to have their say.