Round Robin E-mail Boosts Neighbourhood Swap Site

Streetbank encourages recycling and cost saving

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Streetbank, a website which encourages neighbours to give away unwanted goods, or swap services, has signed up its 2,000th member in July and the site is growing in popularity with its central core of lenders and donors in Hammersmith & Fulham.

“It’s the best borough in London,” confirmed founder Sam Stephens, who set up the sharing website with pal Ryan Davies to reduce waste and boost neighbourliness.The aim is to continue building the number of people registered, so the service can achieve a comprehensive national spread.

A new function of the site is the ability to request services or items, so see if a neighbour can help.

“It means you can pro-actively message everyone in 1,000 yards to find out, say, if someone has a spare Nokia charger,” said Sam.

The request will go out once a week in a round robin email.
Recently one streetbank user offered to help an elderly woman with her gardening. By searching on the website he discovered four or five other willing helpers who had offered to do gardening, and the ad-hoc team was able to complete a productive afternoon beautifying the garden and cleaning up her decking… as well as building friendships in their road.

“If there are, say, five people registered in your area, it isn’t as useful as 150 people in your area,” said Sam.

The figures for west London are impressive. Anywhere in Hammersmith & Fulham you can expect to find at least 100 people registered in your neighbourhood. Sam, who lives in Fulham Palace Road, has 260 registered swappers and givers close to him.

The website is growing by word of mouth, with Sam and his friends telling everyone they meet, and asking them to pass it on.

If he had to define a ‘typical’ streetbank user, it would be female, community minded and someone who got pleasure from being involved in their neighbourhood.

The website now has the full backing of the council. Cllr Harry Phibbs, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, said: “This is a fantastic website that encourages residents to recycle their unwanted items. It can also help break down barriers, encourage neighbours to talk to each other, and share resources. I am already a member and I encourage other residents to join too.”



August 13, 2010