Could the Rye pound be town’s new currency?

Lewes Pound
Lewes Pound

RYE could be getting its own currency if plans to make the town more independent and self sufficient succeed.

The possibility of a Rye Pound is one of a number of suggestions being put forward by the Transition Town Rye Steering Group, which outlined its plans at a recent meeting of Rye Council’s public services committee.

It would see Rye following in the footsteps of county town Lewes which successfully launched the Lewes Pound in 2009 .

The currency can only be used for locally supplied or sold goods and services with the aim of preventing money from leaking out of the town.

The concept of Transition Towns has been around for ten years and was piloted nationally at Totnes, in Devon.

Sandy Rogers, from the Rye steering group, said: “The aim is to change from a community highly dependent on fossil fuel and imported resources, such as food, to one that is more resilient and self-sufficient.

“This has worked well in Lewes, which not only has its own currency but has seen solar panels being erected by a community owned company.

“We have already been holding informal talks with Rye Town Council. Rother Council and Rother Environmental Group to see what can be achieved.

“This is about adopting a sensible view on self-reliance rather than making ourselves an island. We want to open the discussion up and generate ideas.

“We are building up to holding some public meetings in the town and already have 100 people on our distribution list.

“One idea is to have a Rye Pound to stop money from leaking out of the community.

“One of our aims is to reach a younger audience and get them involved.

“In October we held a popular Swop Shop in Rye where people could exchange unwanted items to prevent them from going to the tip.

“It was incredibly successful and attended by more than 300 people. Another takes place at St Mary’s Centre, Lion Street on Saturday (January 19).

Rye councillor Mary Smith said: “We have been trying to get a bulky waste collection in Rye for some time and this is a brilliant idea.”

She added: “This could be in the economic interests of all of us in Rye.”

For more information, email transitionrye@gmail.com and they will add you to the mailing list.

The local group also meet for informal drinks and social discussion on the 15th of every month at a local pub.

Details are circulated on the mailing list.