St Andrews to introduce its own currency

The logo of the project
The logo of the project

ST Andrews is set to unveil its own currency in an initiative designed to encourage people to think and spend locally and share skills.

Entitled Saint Exchange, those behind the new trading scheme hope to inspire residents to support local businesses and also their own community.

Developed as part of a project run by Transition University of St Andrews, it is funded by the Government’s Climate Challenge Fund to engage both town and gown with projects relating to climate change and sustainability.

It is based on a community-credit system called Local Exchange Trading Schemes, which allow communities to trade and exchange goods, skills and services locally, creating a more sustainable local economy.

The scheme works by offering community credit, and spokesman Paul White said: ”Local currencies have been successful in other parts of the UK, most notably the Brixton Pound in London. Saint Exchange is similar to a local currency, but provides a mutual credit system.

“It allows members to offer their skills, talents and home-made goods in order to earn ‘Saints,’ which they can then redeem on the things they might need or want, but otherwise would be unable to afford.”

Other benefits are that it provides a directory of services encouraging members to source help locally to mend broken items, reducing the amount of waste going into landfill and thus their carbon footprint, and allows participants to supplement their income or try new things which they might wish to develop into a business.

“All of these help to create a more resilient sustainable community, which is important in times of economic recession,” added Paul.

The scheme is free to join and has already begun trading. It will be officially launched at a coffee morning on April 6 in the Victory Memorial Hall, between 11am and 1pm.

The event will provide an opportunity to find out more about the programme and how to join. More information is available at www.saint-exchange.org.uk.