This time last year I was spending quite a bit of time talking to everyone who would listen about the benefits that a local currency could bring to Cardiff. I firmly believed that a Cardiff Pound would be a real boost for Cardiff’s local economy, and having watched the Bristol Pound go from strength to strength over the last 12 months, I’m now even more convinced of the case for a local currency.
It was pretty clear that there was a lot of goodwill and support around to set up a local currency, and in a perfect world I would have liked to have been able to capitalise on that to have a Cardiff Pound up and running right now. Indeed I did make some brave predictions about how soon we would have everything ready to launch – however, in my excitement and enthusiasm I rather forgot about the necessity to earn a living in the meantime, ha! Then in September I began a new job and it became clear that with the best will in the world the Cardiff Pound would have to take a back seat until I was settled in.
So take a back seat it did, but for far longer than I had hoped – every time I could see a breather coming up, a new project appeared. Which has been great for my overdraft, but it has also meant that a few weeks ago, I had reluctantly come to the conclusion that if I wanted to see the Cardiff Pound happen, I would have to hand it over to someone who had the time and energy that it deserved. This was a hard decision but at the end of the day I want the Cardiff Pound to happen more than I want to be the person to make it happen, if that makes sense. Though I do quite badly want to be that person as well!
Which is why I am very, VERY excited this afternoon because after having some conversations with the lovely people that run Cadwyn Housing Association (and who, for their sins, also have the misfortune to employ me part time) I have been given the go-ahead to work on the Cardiff Pound for one day a week from September! My brief will be to put the groundwork in to bring the project to the stage where it is ready to go, and, I hope, to create enough momentum that the Cardiff Pound becomes a reality.
This is brilliant news! I am incredibly grateful to Cadwyn for seeing the potential of a local currency, and also for putting their faith in me to take the project forward to the next stage; and at the risk of doing a Gwyneth, I’m also really grateful to those of you out there who have taken such a patient interest in the Cardiff Pound and have encouraged me to keep chipping away – you know who you are!
So – next steps…I shall be reviving my Cardiff Pound To Do list which includes talking to the New Economics Foundation; more conversations with the Bristol and Brixton Pounds; putting together a website with information for local people and local businesses; investigating cashless payment systems; keeping you all updated via @cardiffpound; oh, and panicking just a little bit at what suddenly feels like a big, scary and frankly overwhelming task. Bring it on!