The founders of innovative volunteer reward scheme – CounterCoin – are inviting members of the public and business community to put on their wellies and pick up their gardening spades in a bid to help reduce North Staffordshire’s carbon footprint.

CounterCoin – a groundbreaking way of incentivising, recognising and rewarding acts that have a positive social impact within a community – held its first challenge day on 21 November 2018, when scores of people turned out to make clay coins throughout Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme. Volunteers from various organisations took part last year at venues including the YMCA, Fenton Manor Leisure Centre, Cultural Squatters, the Co Op Academy and Tunstall and Longton indoor markets.

Clay CounterCoin made by volunteers on 21 November 2018 for the first CounterCoin Challenge.

This year the CounterCoin Challenge is set to be bigger and better as founders of the scheme are looking to plant fruit trees in private and public spaces.

“Last year’s CounterCoin Challenge was a huge success with the Co Op Academy as the winners making the most clay coins,” said Mike Riddell, director of CounterCoin Community Club Limited. “It was great to see so many people get involved and support what we are trying to do. This year we want to build on that and we have already had a lot of support from various volunteer organisations and local businesses.”

Mike Riddell

Mike acknowledges suitable trees and underused green spaces need to be located for the 2019 CounterCoin Challenge and adds: “We are really keen to involve as many people as we can. We have a lot of people who have already given up their time for free to help CounterCoin to get where it is now and we would welcome help from any business or organisation on 21 November.

“We have chosen this challenge for 2019 because not only will planting fruit trees be a fun thing for people to get involved in, but also because we need to set a better example about growing our food much nearer to home. Take apples for example – the UK has eradicated many orchards in recent decades, and now imports 70% of its apples. Planting more apple trees would cut food miles, soak up CO2, help wildlife, cheer up our landscapes, and allow us to enjoy and save traditional or rare apple varieties. Let’s get planting!”

CounterCoin’s mission is to redefine the relationship between business and the community with one of the core objectives being to reduce waste.

Volunteers of the CounterCoin network will be rewarded at the rate of 5 CounterCoin for each hour they contribute which can then be exchanged for rewards at participating businesses, typically for perishable goods, or to use up spare capacity. It is totally at the discretion of a business to determine how many CounterCoin they accept for goods or services.

Anyone who would like to get involved in CounterCoin Challenge 2, would like to donate trees or would like to learn more about CounterCoin, please contact


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