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Timebanking in Northern Ireland

25 November 2013

Volunteer Now has welcomed Professor Edgar Cahn, founder of Timebanking to an event in Parliament Buildings hosted by Basil McCrea MLA and Caitriona Ruane MLA. 

TimebankingVolunteer Now is the force behind the programme for Northern Ireland which is delivered at a local level by organisations and individuals active in the community.

Timebanking is a means of exchange used to organise people and organisations around a purpose, where time is the principal currency.  For every hour participants ‘deposit’ in a Timebank, perhaps by giving practical help and support to others, they are able to ‘withdraw’ equivalent support in time when they themselves are in need. In each case the participant decides what they can offer. Everyone’s time is equal, so one hour of my time is equal to one hour of your time, irrespective of whatever we choose to exchange.

Professor Edgar S. Cahn, JD, PhD is a distinguished legal professor, former counsel and speech writer to Robert F. Kennedy and the creator of Timebanking.  Established in America in 1980 it is now operational across 40 countries.  As the president and founder of the Time Dollar USA, Cahn’s experience with Time Dollars led him to develop a radical new framework for social welfare and social justice that turns recipients of service into co-producers of change. He called this new approach “Co-Production.”

Denise Hayward, Director of Outreach & Engagement, Volunteer Now explained "Timebanking is recognised as an effective way of re-establishing neighbourliness and informal volunteering, and has been particularly successful in engaging hard to reach groups.  Volunteer Now believes that Timebanking can offer an opportunity to address underlying societal issues by providing flexible solutions that can be tailored to different circumstances.  We are thrilled that Professor Cahn has shared his experiences and his enthusiasm has inspired many people to think about Timebanks as a system for exchange of services."

During his visit to Northern Ireland Prof Cahn delivered a key note speech at The Turner Learning Space in Ebrington and engaged in discussions about the concept of Time as a currency to exchange services.

Sinead Quinn, Timebanking Development Officer said; “Volunteer Now is currently working across Derry~Londonderry with communities, organisations and the Council to develop a Citywide Timebank which will provide opportunities to earn and spend time credits.   We were delighted to welcome Edgar Cahn to further enhance the conversations around Tino Sehgal’s showcase ‘This is Exchange’ and were delighted that people came along and got involved.”

Read more about Timebanking.