Have you heard of Streetbank? No? Nor had I until last week and apparently parents all over the country are tapping into a new kind of wealth – a community-focused, greener kind thanks to this new venture. Streetbank – recently endorsed by David Cameron – is the largest neighbourhood sharing website of its kind. It is providing families with a simple way to save. The result? Less waste, less clutter and access to £1,000s worth of things and skills locally. This sounds like my kinda help! Especially with our garage still full of things from our move.
As the cost of parenting continues to increase and a growing number of families struggle to pay the bills, parents are turning to their local communities to share toys, baby gear, weaning advice, tutoring and more on Streetbank, saving significant amounts of money in the process.
It is estimated that the cost of bringing up a child in 2013 rose to £148,000, up 4% from last year according to research for the Child Poverty Action Group charity (CPAG). Meanwhile, 94% of mums say they spend more on their child’s wardrobe than their own, with an average one-year old’s wardrobe valuing at £327.
Streetbank, which started as a grassroots initiative, has become the largest neighbourhood sharing website in the UK and was recently voted one of The Times’ top 50 websites you cannot live without. In a letter dated 10th September 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron celebrated the beneficial social impact Streetbank is having:
“I welcome all efforts to empower communities and encourage local people to play a more active role in society. I sincerely hope that Streetbank will continue to grow and I have asked to be updated on its progress in my own constituency.”
Streetbank is growing rapidly, with over 22 thousand members to date across the UK. In London, the average Streetbank member has over £7,000 worth of things available to them at no cost and within a mile of their home thanks to the generosity of their Streetbank neighbours. In Brighton, this figure rises to almost £7,700 and the project is also thriving in less densely populated areas – in Witney, Oxfordshire, for example, the average Streetbank member has over £1,500 available to them. These figures are growing all the time.
Maire Fordham, Streetbank member from Fulham:
“Without Streetbank, I would have hoarded all my baby gear as opposed to meeting someone great and giving it to a deserving home. I might not have met the amazing neighbour who gave knitting lessons to my child while we chatted, or met the neighbour who re-strung my daughter’s guitar.”
The Streetbank research accompanies the launch of the new Streetbank website on 1st October 2013, designed to make sharing even easier. All potential new members need to do is sign up for free at www.streetbank.com – they can then see everything available to them within a mile of their home and can email members to request their stuff.
Sam Stephens, Streetbank Founder:
“We’re living in tough economic times. A huge number of us have things gathering dust at home, which we rarely need or that become idle, like toys and baby gear. Sharing this stuff on Streetbank not only saves us money, it’s greener and gives parents a chance to meet each other”
The Streetbank project, originally funded out of Sam Stephens’ own pocket, is now established as a not-for-profit organisation, supported through member donations and grants from organisations like Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation.
What is Streetbank?
Streetbank is a website that helps you find things and skills in your neighbourhood
In Other Words:
It works like a giant garden shed, tool-kit, fancy dress chest, skills bank and DVD library in one.
- Helps people save money
- Builds community
- Encourages sustainability
- … and adds a bit of sparkle to your day in the process!
The Cost: It’s free.
- Launched in West London in April 2010 as not for profit Community Interest Company
- Rated by The Times as one of the 50 websites you can’t live without
- 21,700 members worldwide today and growing by 5% per month
- We have reached critical mass in West London where 100 people are meeting every month.
- We also have fast growing communities in Vancouver, Seattle, Australia and even six members in Tehran!
- Every day people are sharing – from apples to Z-beds, from French tuition to Ukelele Lessons, from bay leaves to bee-hives
- Founded by headhunter Sam Stephens
I have recently joined Streetbank myself and there are already 6 people in my neighbourhood offering things like help with mowing and lifting, there is another offering the loan of a cake mould in the shape of a castle (may take her up on that one), someone giving away an IKEA storage shelf and a person offering help with computing. It really does feel like a great sense of community and I am looking forward to using the site and not only seeing what’s on offer but advertising things I would like to dispose – much easier, cheaper and more eco-friendly than going up the local tip.
To sign up for your FREE account then why not visit their website – www.streetbank.com
I would like to take this opportunity to wish Sam Stephens and his team the very best with this fabulous venture.