Press coverage of Clonakilty Favour Exchange
FREE ECONOMY: Irish Times November 2012
In a recessionary world, PATRICK FREYNE examines how to get goods and services without resorting to cash
With our complicated financial system and highly technologized society, it’s unlikely that barter will make a widespread return. The sentences “I will swap you three hens for an iPhone 5” or “I will kill a wolf for a go of your Xbox” are unlikely to be crossing many lips.
In the wake of the financial crisis, in an era of tightened belts and purse-strings, people have been trying to find new ways of getting what they need. Around the country local currencies and favour exchanges are popping up, allowing people to exchange goods and services and also helping to bind communities together.
“We didn’t invent the idea of local exchange and trading schemes,” says Miriam Cotton one of the founders of the Clonakilty Favour Exchange. “Time banks were originally conceived as a way of storing up services for yourself for when you were ill or old. They started in America and Canada particularly. The idea was that people would contribute something back into the community earning themselves care for when they were older. We’ve taken that idea but we’ve made it more immediate. You can earn back your time anytime you like.”
How does it work? “People can exchange whatever skill or labour they have with anybody else in the scheme. You don’t have to make direct swaps so if you were offering to write articles for people you could do that for one person but you might be able to use the credits to get a haircut from somebody else entirely. There’s a central record kept of who’s doing what all the time. There’s a debit limit and credit limit. The currency we call ‘the favour’ and that’s the equivalent of 15 minutes of time. Everyone’s time is equal within the exchange regardless of what they’re offering. It’s a response to the recession but it is, as much as anything, a community-building scheme.”
My most satisfying and enjoyable bartering experience was with the Clonakilty Favour Exchange. I uploaded a profile (with the help of Miriam Cotton) and soon I was helping Austrian computer programmer Christian Graninger draft a press release for his soon to be published book of recipes.
Graninger has helped out many residents with computer problems and has, in return, been given practical help with his book and received lifts and haircuts.
I also got some pet advice from Clonakilty based vet Aisling McAuliffe. My household features a very old, white cat with a number of medical ailments. McAuliffe, who has found the favour exchange useful for babysitting services and for arranging lifts, gave me some tips on the care of a crotchety old cat.
Time, not cash, is the new currency
By Mark Keenan
Tuesday May 15 2012THE country's newest bank -- which actively encourages new members to get into debt -- is going nationwide. However, no money will change hands. Instead, time will be the currency used. The Clonakilty Favour Exchange in west Cork -- which describes itself as the country's first ever 'time bank' -- includes the well-known Trinity College Dublin economist Constantin Gurdgiev among its members.
It was launched earlier this month so that locals in the town and its surrounds could trade skills, services and favours without money changing hands. The scheme has proven so successful that two other exchanges are now in the process of getting on to their feet -- in Killarney and in Stillorgan, Co Dublin -- and three more are now on the cards for Kilkenny, Mayo and Sligo. The local initiative had expected to build up to 50 members after a year -- but instead it has almost doubled that to 90 in just over a week after its official launch on May 4.
The concept allows commerce and interaction to take place at a local level on a cashless basis with members simply giving each other their time.
Sunday Times Think Tank column 29th April
Necessity is the mother of invention, as the old saying goes. Let’s face it, times are increasingly difficult for most people. But we’re not as dependent or helpless in the face of economic hardship as it might seem. Local Exchange and Trading Schemes, or LETS as they are known, are not new. LETS are moneyless exchange systems of goods and services that have been around for about 30 years, based on the ancient system of barter – a commodities exchange system that does not involve money.
In recent times, schemes known as Time Banks have evolved - more popular in the US and the UK than elsewhere. These are exchange schemes into which people contribute labour and skill to their community and bank the time given as an insurance policy for old age, for instance. A comparable scheme is ‘Freeeconomy’ founded by ‘The Moneyless Man’ author, Mark Boyle - members contribute without any expectation of exchange. The giving and receiving is expected to balance out over time.
You can sew, I can scrub…A
By Tom SykesEven if I say so myself, I am pretty good at cleaning windows. My method involves a bucket of almost boiling water, microfibre cloths, extra thick rubber gloves and intense bursts of energetic polishing. It’s not exactly worthy of Dragon’s Den, but it does the job.
town is beating the recession with a first of its kind that links locals to swap skills. Cork
I’m not so good at patching clothes, alas. This means that while I have an unsmeared view of my garden, my son, who at the age of six is permanently falling over, has not one single pair of trousers left without a gaping hole in the knee.
Jennifer Sleeman, by contrast, is quite the opposite. The sparky 82-year old...read ful article here
CFE featured on the RTE John Murray Show March 2012
CFE interview on by Ronan Johnston on Spirit Radio, March 2012
Stephen Kinsella: We don’t need cash to shop localEveryone thinks economics is all about money. It isn't. Economics is about exchange, and money is usually used as a medium of exchange. The familiar monetary exchange is: I'd like my windows cleaned; here's a tenner. A valid alternative exchange is: I'd like my windows cleaned, here's an apple tart. Or two.
That's what they've done in west Cork. Locals have gotten together to organise a skills and labour exchange based on a simple website, www.clonfavour.com. Essentially you just register your name and describe your skills, and then people who want those skills contact you. Say your son needs economics grinds, and I need my chickens killed. Well, we have a match on this website. No money changes hands, but we both get what we want.
The list of skills is intriguing: teaching someone to mackerel fish, gutter cleaning, surfing and driving lessons, the aforementioned chicken killing, baking, proof reading, and the list goes on.
Read the full article here
Skills swap lets pensioner stay in her home longer
Georgina O’ Halloran
A pensioner will be able to remain in her West Cork home for longer due to a skills and labour exchange which allows her to call on others to carry out chores she can no longer do herself.
Jennifer Sleeman, 82, who has lived in Clonakilty, Co Cork, for 20 years, was finding it difficult to manage her five-bedroom house alone. But the Clonakilty Favour Exchange, which allows members to trade other skills and labour, has changed all that.
Read more here by clicking the link
Clonakilty favour exchange
Cork Independent 22nd March 2012
by Yvonne EvansA new favour exchange scheme has started up in Clonakilty with membership growing fast.
The scheme allows local people to exchange favours using their particular skill. For every 15 minutes worked, one credit is earned. Miriam Cotton, one of the four founding members of the Clon Favour Exchange told the Cork Independent:
Read more here and See the original article here
The Clonakilty Favour Exchange featured in the March edition of West Cork People. Full article here - link to WCP version below.
West Cork People, March 2012
Community spirit on a stick!
Building community spirit, helping your neighbour, sharing skills and making social capital: these are all at the heart of a great new initiative called The Clonakilty Favour Exchange (CFE). Based in Clonakilty, but open to anyone who wants to join, it’s the
West Cork version of what some will recognise as a Time Bank or a Local Exchange Trading System (LETS).