Helping neighbours to share items and connect.
Streetbank is very simple: it helps neighbours to share things and to help one another. In the process it helps people to get to know one another because they happen to have met by lending and borrowing something. Indeed those social connections might be its real value.
The service is simplicity itself. It is free to sign up using just your name and postcode. The only condition of membership is generosity: to get started you have to offer something you would be happy and able to lend. Once you have done that you can see what everyone else within a one-mile radius of your home is offering up.
At the core of Streetbank's approach is a belief that people are generous and that when you make it easy to be generous it has the power to change a neighbourhood.
The range of offers is eclectic, from books and DVDs to CDs and gardening equipment, old sofas and chairs, tables and filing cabinets, computer games and French lessons, bicycle repairs and decorating.
The Streetbank community is growing fast. Launched in 2011, in its first 18 months Streetbank attracted 21,111 people, sharing 24,649 things and 13,403 skills.
Streetbank is practical and economic: if there are 100 houses on a street and each uses a ladder maybe once a year to clean the guttering, then all the houses probably don’t all need their own ladder. One ladder shared between everyone should be enough. That also makes sense environmentally by helping people to reuse and recycle objects that are under-used and lie idle for long periods. That in turn should cut the unnecessary use of resources. Streetbank, along with US-based start-ups such as yerdle, is a manifestation of the growing interest in a digitally enabled sharing economy.
It is also avowedly idealistic: with the ambition to help meet local needs from within a locality, reducing inequality through building communities. Communities that help each other are closer, nicer and friendlier to live in. That is perhaps the real asset that Streetbank is creating.
Image courtesy of Streetbank
Last updated: 09th of May, 2014