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Belfast council hopes community currency will give city economic boost

Belfast will introduce a community currency later this year following a successful application by the city council to be part of a global currency challenge.

Once launched, residents will be able to accumulate Belfast Coin in return for a range of activities – including shopping local, recycling, volunteering and taking part in civic activities.

The initiative – a first for Northern Ireland – has been made possible thanks to Belfast’s membership of 100 Resilient Cities, a global network funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

The city council has worked alongside the Tel Aviv and UK-based company, Colu, and shared best practice with several global cities as part of the challenge.

Work is now underway to sign up a range of partners and build an eco-system of stakeholders before the currency is formally launched later this year.

Grainia Long, Belfast Commissioner for Resilience, said: ‘Being selected to be part of the global city currency challenge means an important opportunity for Belfast, and I’m delighted that this has been made possible through our partnership with 100 Resilient Cities, and working with Colu.

‘Belfast Coin will be introduced later this year and it’s our hope that it will initially give an economic boost to local businesses, as well as helping Council achieve other long-term goals, including environmental improvements.

‘This challenge gives us the opportunity to explore how a city currency can bring residents, businesses and city partners together to support inclusive growth – a key priority within our Belfast Agenda. It’s also really exciting to be working alongside other global cities to learn from each other about urban problem-solving and sharing best practice.’

Last year, NewStart spoke with the makers of BournCoun and the Bristol Pound, who both said community currencies can help to tackle inequality.

‘Under the present monetary system local communities have very little control,’ said Andrew Durling, co-creator of Bourn Coin.

‘My vision is that it doesn’t act as a standalone new form of currency, but it becomes the centrepiece of a new monetary system locally.’

Photo credit – Pixabay

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