Spent an eye-opening two days with the amazing people who organize the UK's timebanks. Timebanks have really taken off in the UK & help people trade time & skills for ones they don't have. For instance, a retired lawyer might give an hour to help someone in need of legal advice. In return she gets a credit in the Timebank for an hour of someone else's skill. Her need might decorating or music lessons. The key is everyone's time is valued the same. Give an hour -- get an hour.
Everyone has skills. You can do something simple like the shopping for someone - right? That's enough. The real effectiveness of this model is in reducing isolation & improving wellbeing. Timebanks are increasingly being adopted into healthcare delivery & local government services. This is not the one-sided giving model of charity. It's about people trading their time and skills for those of others in the community.
This idea of social currencies beyond money is really interesting as it extends to the idea of cryptocurrencies. Kate McDonald of Hull & East Riding Timebank filled me in on Hull County Council's plan to launch HullCoin, a local currency to help boost the city economy & help manage the worst impacts of welfare reform. Interesting stuff.