Tackling social exclusion with community currencies: learning from LETS to Time Banks

Community currencies have been put forward as a grassroots solution to the problems of social exclusion and the need for active communities, and are gaining policy support. LETS has been the most common form of community currency in the UK for the last 10 years. Time banks (based on the Time Dollar idea from USA) represent the next generation, providing service brokering and equality of labour to overcome many of the obstacles faced by LETS. This paper presents the first research into time banks in the UK and reviews their origins, growth and development, and their ability and potential to tackle social exclusion. The reciprocal learning from LETS to time banks is discussed, along with possible future development paths for community currencies. Time banks have been successful in attracting members from socially excluded groups, and have become established in mainstream health and community development settings. Remaining obstacles include the need for sustainable funding, to grow and widen their scope, and for policy changes to provide a more supportive framework.

Gill Seyfang Volume 6(2002) 3

IJCCR Vol 6 (2002) 3 Seyfang

To cite this article: Seyfang, G. (2002) ‘Tackling social exclusion with community currencies: learning from LETS to Time Banks’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 6 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2002.002

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The Role of the Third Sector in Paving a ‘Third Way’: Some Lessons From Local Exchange and Trading Schemes (LETS) in the United Kingdom

Despite declarations that the third sector is to play a prominent role in paving a Third Way, there remains much confusion about what constitutes this Third Way and the role of the third sector in bringing it about. Evaluating Local Exchange and Trading Schemes (LETS) as a prominent third sector initiative, the aim of this paper is to analyse its effectiveness in fulfilling various roles being assigned to it. This reveals that although many view the role of the third sector in paving a Third Way to lie in its ability to create jobs and improve employability in order to achieve ‘full-employment’, these initiatives are most effective at facilitating community self-help and thus means of livelihood beyond employment. We thus conclude that for the third sector to be used effectively and the Third Way to become a distinct and radical departure from the past, there will need to be a shift from both an ’employment-ethic’ to a ‘work ethic’ and a ‘full-employment’ to a ‘full-engagement’ vision.

Colin C Williams, Theresa Aldridge, Roger Lee, Andrew Leyshon, Nigel Thrift and Jane Tooke Volume 5(2001) 3

IJCCR Vol 5 (2001) 3 Williams et al

To cite this article: Williams, C.; Aldridge, T.; Lee, R.; Leyshon, A.; Thrift, N.; Tooke, J. (2001) ‘The Role of the Third Sector in Paving a ‘Third Way’: Some Lessons From Local Exchange and Trading Schemes (LETS) in the United Kingdom’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 5 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2001.003