A Streetbank Live first!
Streetbank is being used by thousands of people in over 80 countries worldwide. Everyday people are meeting to part with something they no longer need or to get hold of something they do – as well as to lend a neighbourly hand with things like dog-walking and DIY. But in some areas, Streetbank is yet to take off.
To kick things off, we’re running several ‘Streetbank Live!’ events; an opportunity for people to give and take things whilst meeting neighbours, in a relaxed and neutral setting.
Anna describes the very first of these events in Leicester:
'I might be able to give something but I won't be taking anything.' 'Sorry I can't help you, I take my stuff to the charity shop'. 'It would be much better to have a charity sale'. These are some of the comments made by residents before the Streetbank Live event.
It’s a new concept for this area, but having researched the barriers to neighbourhood sharing locally, it seemed people would be more likely to go to an event then to sign up to the website.
The event was well publicised thanks to our host - Mellor Primary School and we were delighted with the turnout. 85 adults and hordes of children came - out of curiosity - and left with smiles and bags of things they needed for free.
We gave everyone a free Streetbank Live cotton bag which encouraged them to join in, while also discouraging them from taking everything! It also meant that people couldn’t see what others had taken, which addressed some residents’ pride about accepting second hand items.
Lots of good quality clothes, toys, books and DVDs were given and taken in an atmosphere of excitement. I was approached by a girl who had brought a pencil sharpener to swap. Minutes later it was taken by a boy saying, 'I LOVE pencil sharpeners!' – proving the idea that one person’s junk really can be another’s treasure!
As well as swapping stuff, you could swap skills, browse local community information, enjoy refreshments and make a junk box ping-pong ball run – largely thanks to generous streetbank.com neighbours who volunteered their time to help.
Everyone wanted to know when we’re doing it again. Well the good news is we have a second event planned: The Church of the Resurrection on Weymouth Street, Belgrave, Leicester, 2-4pm on Saturday 18th April 2015.
This event proved that we can bring all the social, economic and environmental benefits of swapping things with neighbours to areas like Leicester and Burnley. It just takes a bit of encouragement and offline interaction to get things started.
Why does Streetbank take off in some areas and not others? What are the ingredients needed to unlock neighbourhood generosity?
We’d love you to share your comments and stories below.