CommunityThe FreeStore mentioned in my previous post is run by volunteers who in return for their time are given an equal amount of time for any service offered by the Media TimeBank.

Time Banking is an alternative way of valuing and facilitating exchange of services without money. The main difference to systems like Local Exchange Trading Schemes (LETS) is that everyone’s contribution is valued equally: 1 hour of work = 1 Time Dollar.

Timebanking was founded by Edgar Cahn upon Five Core Values:

  • We are All Assets: Everyone has something to offer. No one knows or does everything, and everyone knows and can do something.
  • Some Work is Valuable Beyond Market Price: Work needs to be recognized and rewarded. Everyone benefits when we work toward raising healthy children, building strong families, revitalizing neighborhoods, living sustainably, and fostering social justice. Timebank Media is an initiative of Transition Town Media, an organization that focuses on local resiliency in all areas of Media’s infrastructure: food & water, economy, transportation, energy, business, currencies, the environment, and — of course — community.
  • Helping Works Better as a Two-Way Street: When neighbors help one another, we are all stronger. The community we create offers a greater reward than simply the sum of the work done.
  • We Need Each Other: Alone, we are limited in what we can achieve. Networks are stronger than individuals. When we work together, we can build the world we envision. That’s why we are working so hard to re-weave community.
  • Every Human Being Matters: There are no throw-away people. Everybody has something to offer, and has unmet needs as well. (From the Media TimeBank website)

Various TimeBanks have been operation around the world since the 1980’s. The first TimeBank in Australia was established in 2012 in NSW with state government funding and has since been expanded to include over 40 sites with 20 more to be added later this year. Reports have praised the TimeBank approach for helping build stronger communities and for increasing volunteering. Earlier this year the South Australian Premier announced that the State Government will use the TimeBank model to develop a scheme whereby volunteers will be able to gain Time Credits for the time they spend volunteering.

Read more about TimeBanking at http://timebanks.org/.

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