'New currency' announced for the Lake District

The first designs for the paper currency denominations introduce four themes  designed to represent the unique character of the region, its heritage and people.
The first designs for the paper currency denominations introduce four themes designed to represent the unique character of the region, its heritage and people.

The designs for a regional currency have been made public for the first time as the Lake District prepares to launch its own money on May 1.

The Lake District Pound is a community initiative designed to help locals and visitors enjoy Cumbrian culture, support local businesses and help look after the area’s landscapes and communities.

The first designs for the LD£1, LD£5, LD£10 and LD£20 paper currency denominations introduce four themes – designed to represent the unique character of the region, its heritage and people.

- The LD£1 is based around ‘Fun and Adventure’, featuring an artist’s rendering of Beatrix Potter as a child, as well as Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons and a view of the Langdale Pikes.

- The LD£5 celebrates ‘Creativity and Freedom’, featuring Alfred Wainwright, the author of the legendary Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells, Innominate Tarn where his ashes are scattered and a view of the Skiddaw range near Keswick.

- The LD£10 celebrates ‘Resilience and Determination’, embodied by record breaking Wasdale fell runner Joss Naylor and the rugged view across Wastwater to Great Gable.

- The LD£20 represents ‘Love for the Landscape’ and features Victorian thinker and artist John Ruskin, as well as Dorothy and William Wordsworth and a view across Grasmere to Helm Crag.

The currency designs also incorporate several security features - including thermochromatic ink and silver foil. There is also a UV layer on each design showing the night sky over Cumbria under ultraviolet light. This is in addition to a number of covert safeguarding measures.

The Lakes Currency Project, which is behind the initiative, has used a team of local artists and creatives to design the currency.

Ken Royall, founder and director of the Lakes Currency Project, said people would be able to use the currency in local businesses and tourist attractions from May 1, when he will officially make the first purchase with Lake District Pounds to board a steamer across Ullswater from Glenridding.

The currency can be used interchangeably with and alongside Sterling, but can only be spent in locally owned, independent businesses and tourist attractions. In addition, people will also be able to buy a ‘LD£ Passport’ to fill with unique stamps from local businesses as they explore.

Mr Royall said: “We’re ecstatic to finally reveal the first ever Lake District Pound designs, and are looking forward to launching this exciting project for the benefit of our local businesses and communities.

“The Lake District Pound is a new way for people to explore the distinctive culture of our region and feel part of the community, both by interacting with the currency itself, but also by visiting our unique local businesses and meeting the people who own them,” said Mr Royall, who lives near Windermere.

“Lake District Pounds can be spent completely interchangeably with and alongside Sterling, but only in locally owned, locally trading businesses, which are unique to or founded in the Lake District and Cumbria. It’s a fun way of encouraging people to visit all our great local shops, cafes and attractions – the local businesses that make our local culture and communities so special.

“We also know that people love to collect local currencies. If locals or visitors choose to collect Lake District Pounds as mementos of their experience, they can do so knowing that the money will fund projects that look after our landscapes and local communities. All proceeds will be divided between Cumbria Community Foundation and the Lake District Foundation – it’s a rewarding way for locals and visitors to help look after the landscape they love.”

The Lake District Pound is an annual currency. New currency will be released each year and be valid from January 31 for 12 months. However, the new designs will be available from December, giving people a two month overlap to exchange any leftover currency for the next year’s designs. People can also swap leftover Lake District Pounds back to Sterling at any time during their period of validity.

Lakes Currency Project Creative Director Sophie Crewdson said: “The Lake District is loved by a global community of visitors as well as locals. Through our currency, we want to help those people not only enjoy a closer appreciation of the Lake District’s unique culture and community, but also to feel inspired to give back and help look after its future. Every LD£ makes a difference.

“A local currency is such an exciting creative platform to celebrate what people love about the Lake District – something that we could never sum up in one set of designs. 2018 is just the start - the designs will evolve each year just like the Lake District’s story has and always will. We hope the Lake District Pound will become a real source of pride and excitement for anyone who loves this place – wherever they are in the world.”

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 then swap their Lake District Pounds back to Sterling any time during their period of validity, at an Exchange Point or by sending them back to the Lakes Currency Project.

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.

People can stamp their LD£ Passport in local businesses on the Passport Trail – every business has a unique stamp.

Businesses can take the Lake District pound to the Post Office, which will deposit it directly into their bank accounts as Sterling.

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