Page last updated at 12:48 GMT, Friday, 24 April 2009 13:48 UK

Local currency scheme is extended

Lewes pound
New designs for the notes will draw on ideas from Lewes residents.

A scheme which gave an East Sussex town its own currency to support the local economy will be extended beyond its one-year trial period.

Organisers said the Lewes pound, released in September 2008, had been a success, with half of those using it increasing their spend in Lewes stores.

New notes in L£1, L£5 and L£10 values will be issued from July but old notes will be valid until 31 August.

More than 31,000 notes issued so far are accepted by more than 130 traders.

The Lewes pound works like a voucher and is equal to a sterling pound.

New note designs

Oliver Dudok van Heel, of the Lewes Pound Group, said the response to the trial phase had been "overwhelming".

"There is clearly an appetite within Lewes to extend the scheme and ensure that this initiative further helps Lewes be a thriving and sustainable community," he added.

Organisers have said designs for the new notes will draw on the creativity of local artists and schools.

The Lewes pound is a joint initiative by the Lewes Pound Group and Transition Town Lewes, which is made up of local residents whose aim is to campaign for a more self-sufficient community.

The town had its own currency between 1789 and 1895.

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