The Kingston Pound, a local currency, has been in use throughout the borough since 2013 from the creation of the K£, encouraging shopping within the community and making purchases of goods and services which are more mindful and beneficial to those around us.

Kingston Upon Thames, a leafy green borough of Greater London, has a significant sense of community. The town centre and the high street is rich with culture, history and a sense of distinct place, from the food markets to the high streets itself.

However, with the onset of globalisation and the increasing persistence of global companies percolating down into even relatively smaller communities, the composition of Kingston upon Thames is being compromised. More and more locally owned shops and businesses are shutting down, being replaced by yet another Costa café. The issue of maintaining resilience in the local community is one that is of primary importance, much like other suffering areas - but Kingston upon Thames is somewhat innovative in the way it has devised to deal with this issue.

The local currency encourages shopping locally, particularly for businesses to buy their goods from locally based suppliers. Each K£ is equivalent to a normal pound, with a 1% transaction charge for charity.

Oftentimes, local currencies such as this go under the radar, unrecognised by the general public and therefore not used to their full extent. They are hugely beneficial in terms of maintaining an area sustainably. As well as being economically encouraging, potentially aiding some to break out of cycles of poverty through integration into the community, they can be beneficial for the environment. By preventing outsourcing goods and services, as is often arguably cheaper, our carbon footprint can be significantly reduced as we turn to rely on local supply.

Of course though, the drawbacks must also be acknowledged – trade with regions outside of Kingston are not all bad, and in fact, play a huge part in the area. Of course globalisation and the increasing interconnectedness of the world around us brings about changes that may impact local and smaller areas, however it also poses significant benefits in terms of tapping into and expanding economies past what was once viable.

Regardless, the aims of the K£ are not to completely cut off circulation of the regular currency, nor to hinder the prosperity of the local area. It has good aims and comes with benefits when enacted successfully, particularly for the sense of place and cohesion of the local region.