What is “economy”, in local terms?
If we are interested doing something to strengthen the local economy, then here are some guidelines and current activity.
Totnes Transition, which is something of a pathfinder Transition Town, began by joining together with members of the council, members of local development enterprises, schools and colleges to study the local economy and identify opportunities for local people. It took over a year and they called it the Local Economic Blueprint.
They identified opportunities for local businesses worth millions of pounds and hundreds of new jobs in sectors like food, renewable energy, residential energy efficiency and health and care services. We also identified ways in which our community can work together to realise some of these opportunities.
Then, they started up an event called the Local Entrepreneur Forum to bring together people interested in starting businesses, local investors and business experts, so that new local enterprises could start up and thrive.
People starting new companies need all kinds of support – money, help with business plans, a place to work, land, expert advice, moral support, home cooked meals, child care, even hugs!. In four events, Totnes Transition raised over £65,000 for 14 local enterprises.
“When people started pledging their support, I was blown away.” – Laura, School Farm CSA, LEF 2013
What’s happening in Kings Langley?
TiK’s energy generation company, GUCE, has made a start in making this micro-economy more sustainable and enterprising by generating electricity locally and the TiK Community Farm is growing food in Gade Valley Close and selling it at the monthly Local Food Market in the High Street.
Unlocking all the talents in Kings Langley and enabling people to trade with each other in a micro-sense without using the Pound is important. We can also reward voluntary work on GUCE and at the Farm, too.
A new local trading scheme?
To strengthen links within the Kings Langley community, our first action is to initiate a local trading scheme. These are often called LETS schemes (local exchange trading systems).
In principle, our scheme will be more akin to a timebank. Timebanking is a means of exchange used to organise people and organisations around a particular purpose, where time is the principal currency.
Timebanking UK is a national charity and limited company. It is the only membership organisation in the country to offer support and resources to community timebanks, providing inspiration, guidance and practical help.
It shares the learning over the past 15 years since timebanking was introduced in the UK. It offers support to users of hOurworld‘s software, Time and Talents, something we are configuring now (March 2016).
For every hour TiK Members dig, manage, administrate or contribute, units of the timebank currency are earned and logged. Potentially, they can ‘spend’ these units on food, or services from other Members.
For more details of the scheme, come to our next Open Meeting.