Despite recent recession, austerity measures and its rural location, Okehampton is a vibrant town.
The last few years has seen an increase in initiatives to boost the town – the weekend markets, new events and self-help groups have all contributed to the vibrancy.
But on the other hand, businesses have found it increasingly difficult to maintain a reasonable level of economic viability. The town has seen the closure of three of its banks, the hospital and many high street retailers. A further threat to our retailers is the recent trend in buying online.
Cllr Paul Vachon is proposing to introduce a local currency, the Okehampton Pound, OK£. Participating businesses and retailers will accept the OK£ as a discount voucher against goods purchased. The advantage is that the OK£ can then be used by that retailer to purchase goods or services from the other participating businesses, thus ensuring the circulation of the currency.
It is envisaged that the currency will be issued initially to residents within the Okehampton area as a Crowdfunding incentive to invest in a
Community Interest Company.
It is this company that will be responsible for the management and administration as well as promoting and marketing the town, particularly to attract tourism. In this way it is hoped to increase footfall of residents and visitors.
The scheme needs the backing of the Local Councils and businesses as well as the support of the people. With this in mind, an open meeting to discuss these proposals has been set for 7pm Wednesday 23rd January in the Charter Hall.
All are welcome.