Growing cohesive communities, one favour at a time: Social exclusion, active citizenship and time banks

Gill Seyfang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


Community currencies have been put forward as a grassroots tool to promote social inclusion through community self-help and active citizenship. ‘Time banks’ are a new form of community currency in the UK which are receiving government support. Time credits are earned for each hour of voluntary service given, and can be used to purchase services from other members in return. This article discusses new findings from the first national study of time banks to assess their impacts and potential. An evaluative framework is employed which describes social inclusion as comprising effective economic, social and political citizenship rights. Evidence is presented from a national survey of time banks and from an in-depth case study of Rushey Green Time Bank, situated in a health care setting in a deprived area of south London. Time banks are found to be successful at engaging socially excluded and vulnerable groups of people in community activities — many for the first time — boosting their confidence, social networks, skills and well-being, as well as opening up possibilities for challenging inequitable social institutions and creating spaces where different values prevail. Their potential as tools for democratic renewal, promoting civic engagement and active citizenship is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-706
Number of pages38
JournalInternational Journal of Urban and Regional Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003

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