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Streetbank – Lending, giving away, skills

May 12, 2010

Are you tired of everyone on your street owning a ladder but no one thinking to share it?

Streetbank is a neighbourhood lending scheme that seeks to overcome needless duplication and waste. Along the way it generates genuine neighbourliness and community. I can’t think of a better example of technology serving community rather than diminishing it.

I lived near Sam and Ryan while Streetbank was being set up, and it’s a real pleasure to be associated with it (for instance at the second Breathe Conference).

Streetbank’s (frightfully clever) website allows anyone to get neighbours lending to each other. Maybe you could use it to start something near you?

With Sam’s permission, I’ve quoted the description below:

Streetbank.com, co-founded by head-hunter Stephens and IT consultant Ryan Davies, is the people’s bank: building community, encouraging sustainability and saving money through borrowing, giving away and sharing. Sign up, enter your postcode, add one item you would be willing to lend or give away, and see all the items available within 1000 yards of your home. All for free.

So far, Streetbank users (streetbees) have lent each other vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers, lonely planet guides and batman costumes; they’ve given-away microwaves, sofas, rabbit-hutches, pianos, hedge-trimmers and freshly baked bread and helped each other to move house, weed gardens, apply for jobs and learn French. There’s mum of three Marianne who cycled from Brussels to London for charity. Through Streetbank, she was lent a bike, a bike-carrier and learnt to repair a puncture. Or Streetbank member, Karen Alexander, who writes on her profile: “ I love the idea of Streetbank, there’ve been times when I could’ve used an extra pair of hands to bring a new piece of furniture or a TV into the house, and would likewise be happy to do the same for my neighbours.  Problem is – they don’t know that! We seem to feel more awkward about asking for help from people we don’t know. Hopefully this will allow us all to be there for each other!”

Streetbank, although practical, fun and economical is, at heart, about reconnecting community, alleviating loneliness and making society a little bit less independent. You can check it out at www.streetbank.com

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