Ten years ago a wonderful new bank opened to serve the people of Plymouth. Called Timebank, instead of dealing in ‘currency’, it dealt in ‘time’ and it recognised that practically everyone had time to give and something to trade. Now, a decade after it began in Whitleigh, there are now eight branches open across the city, running for two hours, including at Barne Barton, North Prospect and Honicknowle running more than forty Timebank sessions a week.
From knitting to dog-walking; book-keeping to gardening; hairdressing to tech, everyone has a skill or a willingness to deposit into their account. With their credit each individual is then ‘repaid’ with other people’s time and their skills. It’s a circular economy where no money ever changes hands.
It’s also, as Zoe Nile, from Timebank says, it’s the most fun anyone can have going to the bank:
“We bring people together, promoting kindness, compassion and unity. Our members regularly blow me away with their enthusiasm and generosity, sharing their skill and abilities in order to help their fellow members and create a sense of wellbeing for all. I am proud to be a member of Timebank myself, and thoroughly stand behind our motto – ‘Give an hour, make a day’ “
There are more than 400 individuals banking with Timebank and sharing their skills, hobbies and interests. Far from focussing on the financial aspects, Timebank scores on socialising. A lot of the trading takes place around regular sessions fortified with tea and cake. On the trading floor, while skills and services are banked so conversations flow and relationships flourish. It’s a win:win situation for everyone but, the greatest return, flows to the community.
· the only bank where currency is time.
· all skills and actions are equal
· everyone has something of value to give
· an hour = an hour.