The Lake District has launched its own local currency, as part of a private initiative aimed at creating a unique visitor experience, driving trade to local businesses and raising money for two local charities.
The currency launched on 1 May, with people able to spend the Lake District’s own £LD1, £LD5, £LD10 and £LD20 notes in over 200 locally owned businesses and tourist attractions that are part of the initiative and display the LD£ symbol in their windows. The Lake District Pound can be used interchangeably with and alongside Sterling, but can only be spent with participating businesses. Each note features prominent figures from the history of the Lake District and tells the story of a different aspect of the local character.
New currency will be released each year and valid from January 31 for 12 months. However, the new designs will be available from December, giving people a two-month overlap to exchange the previous year’s currency for Sterling or new Lake District currency.
People can exchange their Sterling for Lake District pounds at a number of Exchange Points across the region, including at most Post Offices. They are also available from the Lakes Currency Project’s website. People can also swap the notes back before the end of their holiday or send them back to the Lakes Currency Project, which will redeem them electronically.
Ken Royall, founder and director of the Lakes Currency explained how this would benefit the charities:
“The money exchange points use to buy the Lake District pounds is kept in our Sterling reserve account, so that every Lake District Pound in circulation is backed by an equivalent pound in Sterling. When people buy a Lake District pound and keep it as a memento of their visit, this is obviously a Lake District pound that we don’t have to redeem. This will create the proceeds to run the company and the remainder is donated to our charity partners.
“If just half of the 18m visitors who are estimated to come to the Lakes every year took just LD£1 home that would create £9m. Even though we expect that the take up might be quite a lot less than this, you can still see that there is the potential to generate a lot of funds for our charity partners.”
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