Social Exclusion refers to the multiple disadvantages people face in society. There are four main areas: economic- where people experience unemployment and poverty; social-where people are isolated, with few friend and family contacts; political- where people lack opportunities to participate in decisions about their communities, locally or nationally; and cultural- where people lack opportunities for new experiences.
Successive governments have been wrestling with ways to address social exclusion, and have focussed on the community as a potential site for change. Time banking has been suggested as a potential mechanism .
There is a body of evidence on how time banking can tackle social exclusion through building economic, social, political and cultural capital for individuals and communities. Examples include allowing people opportunities to save money, access skills for employment, develop friendships, regenerate communities and provide opportunities to participate in local decision making.
‘Tackling social exclusion with community currencies: learning from LETS to Time Banks’ – This paper presents the first research into time banks in the UK and reviews their origins, growth and development, and their ability and potential to tackle social exclusion. The reciprocal learning from LETS to time banks is discussed, along with possible future development paths for community currencies.