Last year at the Breathe conference we had a short presentation from Sam, a man with a good idea that he was piloting at the time – a simple website where you could list things that could be borrowed, things you wanted to give away, and things you needed, and then exchange them with your neighbours. The website was called Streetbank, and after some testing in East Dulwich and running in Beta, they are ready to launch.
The principle behind Streetbank is that sharing between neighbours is a good thing. Why should everybody have their own ladder, or lawnmower, or power drill, if you can share one between you? Everybody saves money, it keeps the household clutter under control, fewer things are bought and thrown away, and hence fewer carbon emissions. And we get to meet our neighbours and build community in the process.
When you sign up to Streetbank, you can list things that you don’t mind lending, things you want to give away, and skills that you can offer to your neighbours. You can also view everybody’s else’s offers within a mile of your house. The more people sign up, the more useful the site becomes, until you have a whole network to draw on. How about exchanging DVDs, rather than buying them or going to Blockbuster? Or passing on baby clothes or toys as children grow up? Or offering to set up neighbours’ broadband connections, or sharing a surplus of runner beans?
I’ve signed up, and connected with Streetbank through Facebook. I’m going to be telling the Transition Luton network about it, and waving the flag for it at the local tenants and residents association. Come and join me, and let’s get it started.