Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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6 Feb 2008

A Rather Charming Totnes Pound Story From Local Press.

cwHere is an entertaining story from one of our local papers, the Herald Express, about the **Totnes Pound**. Colourworks are our wonderful local printers, who have worked incredibly hard reducing the footprint of their business, and who are altogether charming people too. They do all Transition Town Totnes’s printing, and when they printed the second Totnes Pound, we asked them if they would be happy to take payment in them, which they did without batting an eyelid, thereby setting the record for the largest single payment in Totnes Pounds that we know of. The article also touches on the Oil Vulnerability Audit we did for them.

Firm Scratching Its Head to Spend ‘Green’ £s.
Herald Express 29th January 2008.

When Colourworks bosses Jo and Paul Hall won the contract for printing thousands of ‘alternative’ Totnes pounds they expected to get paid, but not in the ‘money’ they had just run off.The Totnes-based ‘green’ printing company had printed 10,000 Totnes Pounds for the Transition Town Totnes group, which has launched the ‘cash’ as the town’s new alternative currency.

And when they presented their bill the couple got handed 900 of them straight back, as payment for the printing contract.

Now the couple are busy trying to find ways to spend the pounds which are only accepted in shops and businesses in Totnes and not even all of them.


So far the couple have been feeding their 15 staff daily on bacon sandwiches and coffees which come from a nearby snack bar which DOES take Totnes pounds.

**Right. Paul Hall of Colourworks and myself promoting the first Totnes Pound.**

And staff members have been obligingly exchanging their real pounds for the Totnes variety if they need to buy anything in Totnes during their lunch breaks.

But one month on the couple still have £700 worth of Totnes pounds to see off.

Said Jo: “We weren’t expecting to get paid in Totnes pounds. It came as a bit of a surprise, but we have risen to the challenge.”

The Totnes Pound is the brainchild of Rob Hopkins and his Transition Town Totnes movement which is dedicated to looking at how the local community can cope in a future without cheap oil and energy.

The Totnes Pound was launched last year with a few hundred ‘notes’ as an alternative currency to strengthen the local economy and stop money from being sucked out of the area.

It was so successful the group ordered another 10,000 and gave Colourworks the job of printing them.

At the moment dozens of Totnes shops and businesses accept the Totnes pounds including Rumour Wine Bar, Luscombe Butchers, the Greenlife health food shop, at least one shoe shop, a furniture shop and the Totnes Pet and Garden Centre.

Jo said: “We are looking at how we can spend them in local shops.”

She said the firm could not use the alternative cash to pay suppliers or their staff, all of whom live outside Totnes anyway.

“We spent 200 of them before Christmas, but now we are making a concerted effort to spend them all,” she added.

Colourworks is already environmentally conscious and has paid to have hundreds of trees planted to offset its 60 tonne-a-year carbon footprint.

The firm, which has been based in Ford Road, Totnes, for the last five years, has already worked with Transition Town Totnes to have an oil vulnerability survey carried out which showed one of the main problems which could face the company in the future is the fact its staff come from way outside the Totnes area.

Jo said: “Nobody here can afford to live in Totnes.

“Because of the survey we decided to go in to an apprenticeship scheme, taking on school leavers and training them in all aspects of printing.”