The Lake District is today launching its own local currency, as part of a private initiative which will create a unique visitor experience, drive trade to local businesses and raise money for charity.
Starting today (May 1st 2018) people will be able to begin spending the Lake District’s very own £LD1, £LD5, £LD10 and £LD20 notes in over 200 locally owned businesses.
Ken Royall, founder and director of the Lakes Currency Project, made the inaugural purchase with the currency to buy a ticket to take a steamer across Ullswater, in the Eastern Lake District, travelling from Glenridding to Pooley Bridge.
The Lake District Pound team and guests then took specially liveried Mountain Goat tour buses from Pooley Bridge over Kirkstone Pass and on a journey around some of the Lake District’s main centres making purchases with the currency on their way.
En route the team stopped to make purchases at:
- Windermere Tourist Information Centre
- Windermere Lake Cruises in Bowness
- Brantwood overlooking Coniston Water
- Rattle Ghyll Cafe, in Ambleside
- Sam Read Bookseller, in Grasmere
The tour culminated in a small street party in Packhorse Court, Keswick, where Keswick businesses came together to celebrate the start of the initiative with champagne and a special LD£ cake baked by Laura Johnson of cafe Laura in the Lakes.
Finally, the Lake District Pound team dropped into Theatre by the Lake, where theatre group KAOS created the LD£ logo using their own bodies and parts of the set for the latest performance.
The Lake District Pound can be used interchangeably with and alongside Sterling, but can only be spent in locally owned, independent businesses and tourist attractions. Each note features prominent figures from the history of the Lake District and tells the story of a different aspect of the local character.
Mr Royall, who was born in the Cumbrian town of Barrow-in-Furness and now lives near Windermere, said: “Today is just the beginning of a long, fun and exciting future for the Lake District Pound, as the number of businesses involved in the scheme grows and we develop new note designs and innovative new ways of promoting the initiative.
“First and foremost we want the currency to create a fun experience which enables both visitors and local people to explore the unique culture of the Lakes. At the same time, this will act to raise awareness of our local businesses and drive footfall to them. This will help preserve, protect and promote these individual businesses which are the backbone of our communities.
“Finally, if people choose to keep the currency as a memento of their time here, then this creates proceeds for the company which we will split equally between two fantastic local charities which care for our people and landscape - Cumbria Community Foundation and the Lake District Foundation.
“We want this to be something which is adds to our region’s sense of identity and pride in itself. At the same time, we want the currency to be something that the wider community of people who love the Lake District can engage with - no matter where in the world they live - and feel part of a something that helps preserve and protect the unique character of this very special place.”
The company has developed an accompanying souvenir book which businesses can sell alongside the currency, as well as Lake District Passport which people can fill with stamps from the businesses they have visited.
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 can swap the notes back before the end of their holiday or send them back to the Lakes Currency Project, which will redeem them electronically.
How the Lake District Pound works
People can exchange Sterling for the equivalent value in Lake District Pounds for free at LD£ Exchange Points across the area - including most major Post Offices. They are also available from the Lakes Currency Project’s website at www.lakedistrictpound.com.
The Lake District pounds can then be spent just like Sterling in businesses that are part of the initiative and display the LD£ symbol in their windows. Businesses can take the Lake District pound to the Post Office, which will deposit it directly into their bank accounts as Sterling.
People can stamp their LD£ Passport in local businesses on the Passport Trail – every business has a unique stamp. Every time someone keeps an LD£ as a memento, this creates proceeds that will be divided between Cumbria Community Foundation and the Lake District Foundation.
For more information on the project, participating businesses and how to buy the currency go to www.lakedistrictpound.com.
What are people saying about the Lake District pound?
Frequently asked questions about the Lake District currency
How do you decide which businesses can be part of the scheme?
The Lake District pound is all about helping people experience the unique culture of the Lake District, its communities and people. That’s why our guidelines are to include businesses which are locally owned and locally trading, and which were either founded in or are unique to the area. This will help us ensure that the currency drives footfall and custom to our unique independent businesses.
Can I trade my pounds in for Sterling? What happens if I still have old ones left over from last year?
We don’t want anyone to have to keep a Lake District Pound who doesn’t want to. That’s why you can exchange your local currency for Sterling at any time before you leave. New currency design will be released each year and valid until January 31. However, the new designs will be available from the beginning of December so there is a two month overlap each year so people can exchange them or swap them for the next year’s designs. If people can’t find any other way to exchange them, they are welcome to send them back to us and we will redeem them electronically.
How does the project work?
Lake District Pound Exchange Points - which include many local Post Offices, Tourist Information Offices, larger accommodation providers and visitor destinations - buy Lake District pounds from the Lakes Currency Project. People can then go to the Exchange Points to exchange their Sterling for Lake District pounds. 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. People spend their Lake District pounds in participating member businesses. The businesses then take Lake District pounds they receive to the Post Office, which will deposit the equivalent amount of Sterling straight into their bank account. The Lake District pounds then come back to us and the process begins again.
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.
How do businesses benefit from accepting the Lake District £?
The key driver for businesses is the increased footfall they will attract from being part of the scheme. They can take part for free and, by doing so, will become the centre of a major experience with an extremely high profile. We want the Lake District pound to be a marketing tool to promote local businesses to both visitors and locals. That’s why we’ve developed the passport trail to drive footfall to participating businesses, as well as promoting them online, in our printed materials and via local PR. Finally, we have produced a souvenir book and Lake District passport that businesses can sell alongside the currency, this will help them create a margin.
How do visitors benefit from using the Lake District £?
First and foremost the Lake District pound is a fun way to help people experience the fantastic local culture we have to offer here. By encouraging people to use our local businesses, we’re helping them have a more illuminating and engaging experience of the Lake District and its people. It’s something that will enhance their time here and help them learn a lot more about the unique character of the place.
Secondly, just by using the Lake District pound people are automatically doing something to help the Lake District - either by contributing to our local economy and culture or helping us give money to benefit our communities and landscape. So, as well as having a great experience and a bit of fun, they’re also getting the satisfaction of knowing they are helping the area.
How does the Lake District pound passport work?
People can buy the Lake District pound passport from Exchange Points. Businesses that are on the passport trail have a unique stamp. People can go from business to business collecting the stamps when they buy something. Businesses that are on the passport trail have a sticker in the window giving people a clue as to what kind of stamp people can collect there. As well as being a fun way of helping people interact with our local businesses, this will also be a unique marketing tool to drive footfall to local traders and attractions.
Is the Lake District Pound just for the Lake District National Park?
Although the Lake District pound is launching mainly in the most popular tourist areas of the national park, we’re rapidly expanding it to take in neighbouring towns and villages as well. In time, we hope it will grow to include many of the communities throughout Cumbria.
Why did you choose the Lake District Foundation and the Cumbria Community Foundation to receive the proceeds from the project?
We believe that what makes the Lake District and Cumbria special is the combination of its people and its landscape. The newly formed Lake District Foundation will be focused on preserving and protecting the area’s physical environment. Cumbria Community Foundation has a long track record of doing great work to look after Cumbria’s people. They were a natural fit when we were considering how to donate the proceeds the company will create.
Why have the featured characters been chosen for the currency?
There are so many incredible characters in the history of the Lake District that it was always going to be difficult to choose who to put on our first set of pounds. However, we’ve decided four themes that we believe sum up the Lake District and its people. Each of our characters has been chosen to represent one of these. In the future we’re really looking forward to using the pounds to explore more of the great characters and stories of the region and, of course, we’re always open to hearing people’s thoughts and ideas about how we can do this. We want this to be something that the whole community is proud of and we want to work with the community and hear their ideas and feedback as we go along.
Why are Lake District pounds only valid for one year?
We want to make the issuing of fresh note designs every year a real event, which will give us an unlimited opportunity to tell the story of the area and its people. The validity period covers a full calendar year and runs until the 31st January of the following year. New currency will be issued at the beginning of December. This means there is a two month overlap for people to either trade in their old currency or buy new ones ready for the coming year.
We are making it very clear on the pounds themselves and in all our publicity materials that there is a validity date and we have thought carefully about how to make it as easy as possible for people to trade them in for Sterling if they don’t want to keep them. We don’t want anyone to keep a LD£ who doesn’t want to. That’s why people can either exchange them before they leave, swap them for new pounds during the two month overlap period or, if necessary, send them back to us so we can redeem the currency electronically.
How are you making sure they’re secure?
There are number of overt security features in the pounds, including UV printing, silver foil and thermochromatic ink. There are also covert features, which we obviously have to keep confidential!
For more information on the project, participating businesses and how to buy the currency go to www.lakedistrictpound.com.