Certified B Corporation Badge


The Goods: What goes around, comes around

2 February, 2024

When we think about what a bank does, we think about savings, loans, mortgages, investments, and so on – the different ways in which we store and borrow financial capital. But this isn’t the only currency we have at our disposal.

Timebanking’ is a concept that reflects an earlier type of economy where the exchange is based on an alternative currency: time. The essence is simple: for every hour you give to your community, you receive an hour credit, and the bank stores and trades your credits. This could include gardening, IT support, home repairs or errands. These are tasks that aren’t always traded in the formal monetary economy but are very useful nonetheless.

By trading services, people can benefit from skills they don’t have or when they’re most valuable, such as in older age, or even ‘cashing in’ on time when it’s needed most, such as during parenthood. And time-banking’s position in the middle ground between voluntary reciprocal support networks and monetary economy brings powerful benefits, including building relationships and trust in communities, as well as enabling people with low incomes to access services that might otherwise be unaffordable – particularly valuable during times of high inflation.

Although this may appear to step on the toes of altruistic volunteering, it can be an effective way to encourage people who would not normally get involved in traditional volunteering. And through being able to donate credits via the bank, it can provide a structured and accessible way to volunteer help for members of your community.

If this sounds like a good deal to you, you can get involved in time-banking as an individual or organisation in the UK here or globally here.

By Patrick Bapty

You might also like