generosity

Streetbank and Freeconomy unite

Streetbank paperchain 720 x 320 JPEG

A little bit of news from Britain’s moneyless economy – the two biggest online communities dedicated to free sharing are joining forces. Freeconomy, run by Mark Boyle, is folding into Streetbank to create one big hub for neighbourhood sharing.

The philosophy of both sites is simple – there are all kinds of things that we can lend or borrow from neighbours, skills or advice we can offer or call upon. We just might not know where to look for such things. Today I saw someone round the corner putting a carefully wrapped-up mattress out in their yard with a little sign saying ‘help yourself’ on it. That’s great, and no doubt somewhere on this estate there’s someone who needs a new mattress who can’t afford one – but they’ll only find out about that free mattress if they happen to walk down that street.

Or maybe there’s a family driving their child off to music lessons somewhere in town, unaware that there’s a neighbour five doors down who would teach them for free and walk them home afterwards. And how many strimmers are there in the 15 sheds I can see from my office window right now, each of them dragged out a couple of times a year? If we were even a tiny bit organised, couldn’t we just share one?

A little bit of neighbourhood networking goes a long way, and Streetbank and Freeconomy have been doing some sterling work providing a place for people to do that. I’m less familiar with Freeconomy, but it’s been great to see Streetbank grow over the last few years, gaining some funding and full time staff and emerging as an influential project, even if it’s a little quiet where I am. The bigger these sorts of sites are, the more useful they become, so the merger is good news for users of both.

If you’re not a member already, you can join Streetbank here. It’s free of course.

5 comments

  1. Hi Jeremy. I know far more about Freeconomy which was set up by the ‘Moneyless Man’ Mark Boyle than I do streetbank.

    If you would like to know more about Freeconomy check out this wonderful radio documentary on Mark Boyle and his year of living without money which has since continued for 2 more years – http://www.rte.ie/radio1/doconone/radio-documentary-moneyless-mark-boyle-freeconomy.html

    Also streetbank recently took over (in a nice and wonderful way) the Australian version called Sharehood.

    I love seeing things like this grow and bring others together – I think the less repition and the more cohesion the better for ideas like this.

    It is a great celebration to see Freeconomy and streetbank join forces – may it continue to grow!

    1. I’ve heard about Mark Boyle and his experiment, but had never tried out Freeconomy myself. I met Sam, who founded Streetbank, really early on. I wrote a few blog posts to get them started when the website was still young.

      It’s never quite worked where I am though. I already know most of the people signed up in Luton, so I’d just phone them up if I needed anything! I should probably print some flyers and spread the word a little further, or put an ad for Streetbank in the local paper.

  2. Thanks for the Streetbank support. Jeremy – we totally agree. When there are already strong networks, you don’t need Streetbank. We’re here for all those people who aren’t quite part of those networks yet so just let me know if you want any help spreading the word in Luton to those outside your contacts, I’d be delighted to.

    Thanks again for the write up and to Lunny06 for the comment! We agree – cohesion is important when you share such similar goals!

    1. Great, I’ll have a word with a few people and see if I can rally some renewed interest, and I’ll be in touch about how best to raise awareness. Thanks!

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