Tue 31 Jul 2012 4:39AM

Timebank hubs and neighbourhoods

HM Hannah Mackintosh Public Seen by 43

Is it better to have one big timebank or lots of little ones?


Hannah Mackintosh Tue 31 Jul 2012 4:39AM

Discussion point: Is it better to have one big timebank or lots of little ones?


Benedict McHugo Mon 6 Aug 2012 7:56AM

Hi guys, think I should put up my 2c first as this is near and dear to me.

For me, first and foremost timebanking is about my immediate neighbours, then wider neighbours in the street, then my suburb/village then my town (google Manakau to get the idea).
Living rurally it could be different but..... my neighbours are my spare pantry should I forget anything (happens often), extra farm hands should their or my stock escape, security should I go out, carers should anybody come down with anything, holders of communal tools and plant should the need arise, sharers of knowledge on all things from midwifery to barn raising.
Should a natural disaster strike these wonderful people will be in a better position to assist, in a more timely manner than any of the emergancy services.
Manakau is tiny. Its a village with a school (60kids), playgroup , church, pub, bowling club, and a dairy and vege shop on the state highway. Because of its size I need to travel to shop, older kids to school, sport & hobbies. This brings me into contact with both Levin in the north, Otaki, Te Horo, Waikanae, Paraparumu and even Paekakariki to see old friends.
Ideally all my trading would be local but as I travel and see all these requests or offers with which I can assist or reciprocate (if I am passing) I think its positive to trade and share the timebanking ethos.
Should limits be set or should they be defined by the communities themselves?
How far is too far to trade?
My timebank is about my neighbourhood/village but my village isnt even in the same local body as OTB, should this matter?

Would being part of a bigger timebank but only trading in my village and possibly having representation on the bigger TB committee be an issue?
Otaki committee members are made up of three from Manakau, two Otaki beach, one from Otaki central, two Te Horo.

Looking forward to your thoughts


Lyttelton TimeBank Mon 6 Aug 2012 10:40PM

Good question Ben! When I consider ideas and proposals I find it helpful to consider what we are trying to create and for me, that often comes down to how I want to feel or how I want the culture to feel that I am working within. for me, we are building community. What is that exactly? Community is a sense that we hold. We either feel in community with each other or we don't. We can have those two senses within the same group of people at different times and we all have a role to play in creating this sense.

So back to small Timebanks or bigger ones. We could feel 'in community' in either a small Timebank or a larger one. We could trade locally with our immediate neighbours for those practical and maybe more urgent offers and requests. We could also build a sense of community with others far and wide as we develop relationships online or by visiting each other and trading. As more people become part of the community, more diverse trading becomes possible.

So I wonder, how do we create community? For me, I come back to HOW we do things as well as what we do. As coordinators, how do we convey and nurture this sense of community ourselves?

What do you think?


Hannah Mackintosh Wed 8 Aug 2012 11:32PM

I have been doing a lot of thinking around this as well. I was sort of thrown into Wellington timebank being a larger timebank that crossed neighbourhoods. People approached us from suburbs right across the city and we didn't feel like it was appropriate to say no just because they didn't all live in the same suburb. They still all wanted to be part of the same community. I felt like that by saying no I was excluding them from what they clearly felt was their own community and who can define someone else's community for them?

However in saying all of that. I think what is often lacking in cities is what you are talking about Ben - that idea of your neighbours being the people that you can go and knock on their doors if you run out of sugar or who you rely on when you need an extra hand. I am currently trying to find ways to build this within individual neighbourhoods while still having the timebank right across Wellington.

I would love to hear some more ideas about how to nurture a sense of community as coordinators.


Paul Smith Thu 9 Aug 2012 12:07AM

What if you just look at it as a recursive thing. You can have as many small time banks as you want that are a part of a bigger timebank which is a part of TBANZ.

Rather than trying to decide which is better can we get the best of both worlds?

The advantage of this is that sometimes the skills you need aren't in your neighbourhood, or even in your city/region. If we limit ourselves too much by location we're limiting what we can get out of Timebanks.


Joybells Tue 14 Aug 2012 12:30AM

I have done a lot of thinking about this from the point of view could a brand new TB starting up piggy back on the efforts of a nearby TB. I now feel that with the stage TB is currently at in NZ each committee is already full if not overloaded on the job of creating and building their TB. So new start ups do need their own committees if only to create a new set of people to share the workload. For me the aim is to form and nurture groups of people who live in very close proximity to be trading with each other. This currently requires lots of local TB's. The ultimate for me would be to have lots of very local TB's who reflect the people, spirit and flavour of that particular community but somehow joined to a wider group where inter trading can happen seamlessly but safety.


Danyl Strype Fri 17 Aug 2012 7:24AM

This reminds me of the discussion about "clustering" we had at a Dunedin TB meeting. Dun TB covers a huge area, and I think it's inevitable that clusters of people will form who live closer to each other, and trade more often. That said, there's no part of Dunedin that you can't get to and back in a day, and covering the whole city potentially catches people with specialist skills that are needed infrequently, but are essential (or at least tremendously useful).

I like the idea of people being able to define their own "cluster" within a TB, which might be based on a school, marae, shared interest, any social network with a comonality. They can recruit their neighbours/ friends/ whānau specifically to their cluster and mentor them on how to use CW etc. Once new people are confident with the tool and the social practice, they can start trading outside their cluster. Both of these things take pressure off co-ordinators and committees.


Benedict McHugo Mon 20 Aug 2012 9:32PM

All that is needed is to encourage a "champion" in a new neighbourhood to start the idea and run with it, gather and recruit neighbours, associates, schools etc. Help get their neighbourhood trading with support from the tb.

This could include social events that help build that sense of community, putting names to faces, breaking down those barriers and creating trust and a sense of community. An example of this is the Manakau members of the OTB running a quiz night with the skills from within the wider TB and raising $900 for Manakau school. The Bowling club provided the venue free of charge, Manakau members provided a plate, members of the wider community came together for a very social night, met members of their community, raising valuable funds for the school.

Its my belief that when your starting a timebank its hard to know if its the chicken or the egg that should come first.

Should people understand how the system works, what its like to trade, what it means to be both provider and receiver of a trade before going down the road of numerous meetings setting up committee and structures to run the TB? I think I had traded with twenty different people before approached by the OTB committee to come on board as a member.

What ever that answer is, it is likely to be different for each community. I think as long as people feel the sense of ownership of "their timebank" and have options to change things if that particular community is unhappy with its "cluster" then I am all for it.
OTB has publicily stated that we wish to assist Levin (a much bigger community) into starting a TB. We explained how we started a timebank and offered support/guidence should they wish to do that. We also offered accept members to join the currently named OTB and should they feel its not working for them, to assist them in seperating into their own entity.

This envoked all present at the meeting to join and start trading.

I may be nieve, definately do not have a chrystal ball and do not know the intracacies of the extraction but believe anything is achieveable. It could be as easy as a committee forming, dropping off the effected/listed neighbourhoods, a little nurturing. At least they (the members) would then have an idea of what its all about and that is, trading.

Our committee of seven (we do not have a co ordinator) do up to thirty hours combined per week. This consists of a running IM on skype, monthly meeting. Each member contributes to their particular strengths and as much as they wish to give. Its up to each committee member to claim hours, not all do. OTB currently trade 200hrs per month.


Danyl Strype Wed 22 Aug 2012 1:59AM

The original question depends, in some ways, on how you define "One Timebank". From a technical point of view, it's much less admin work for Dunedin to have one instance of CW with multiple neighbourhoods set up inside it, than to have a CW for each neighbourhood, and try to figure out how to trade between them.

So, as a rule of thumb, if two people are likely to want to trade together, they should be technically in the same Timebank in the sense of one CW. However, socially speaking, Dunedin might evolve into a confederation of neighbourhood-based "Timebanks", which use our CW to manage trading both internally and between neighbourhoods.