We were incredibly honoured to spend some time with Edgar Cahn, the father of timebanking, on Friday. Edgar has lead an amazingly distinguished and prolific life: Law professor, civil rights activist, speech writer to Bobby Kennedy and, of course, was one of the pioneering forces that created timebanking as we know it. Martin Simon then took all that inspiration from Edgar when he set up Fair Shares 19 years ago.
During Edgar’s current trip he’s been travelling the length and bredth of the United Kingdom giving various lectures or participating in discussions. One of which was a visit to the Houses of Parliament to give a speech on ‘pro-bono’ lawyer services. He took part in a similar discussion at the University of Manchester including how lawyers could implement time banking in the work they do.
We spent a couple of hours having a really deep and meaningful discussion of how time banking has developed and what it means to be an active participant in the community. How do we find our place in society and how are we valued for the skills we can bring to help others? We had a great mix of Fair Shares participants, staff and trustees as well as some of our friends from Bideford who are just setting up a time bank over there.
We discussed broad issues such as social justice, equality and marginalisation. People in the group then also shared some very personal stories of how they are involved and what being part of this community means to them. It was an incredibly inspirational afternoon reminding us why we’re here in the first place. We were also very honoured to hear Edgar say that in his opinion Fair Shares is the flagship time bank of the UK.