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CounterCoin’s continual experimentation towards The Viable Economy

CounterCoin’s continual experimentation towards The Viable Economy

06 Dec 2018
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The first of two pieces on Countercoin. In this one Mike Riddell (of CounterCoin Community Club Limited, Hometown Plus Limited and Steady State Manchester) reports on the Countercoin Challenge event held last week in Newcastle u Lyme.  Next up is Carolyn Kagan’s report on the event with more detail about what the scheme does.

For those unfamiliar with CounterCoin, it is a volunteer reward scheme that incentivises and recognises community action and volunteering. It was launched in partnership with the YMCA North Staffs on June 18 2017, and has already achieved a lot with the support of 24 organisations and 140 individuals working together as a team. In aggregate, over 15,000 hours of social capital have been invested into the project. This continues to rise every week.

CounterCoin believes that cooperative values and principles really are the key to securing The Viable Economy – one in which everyone is pulling in the same direction. And what we are doing here in Stoke we hope will eventually benefit everyone who shares our vision for a healthier, wealthier and happier world.

CounterCoin believes in showing the world what The Viable Economy looks like. We are people who ‘show’, not ‘tell’.

In the context of migrating towards the Viable Economy in a very practical sense, we would like to thank everyone who made Wednesday the 21st November such a special day. We were blown over by the way the people from Newcastle and the six towns of Stoke on Trent embraced the “The CounterCoin Challenge”. Many congratulations to the winner which was the Co-operative Academy in Burslem which on the day made 837 clay coins…

…but in truth everyone was a winner on the day. (Photo credit: Stoke Sentinel) And thanks particularly to Valentine Clays for providing the materials to make the coins on the day, and to Steady State Manchester for funding the t-shirts our volunteers wore on the day:

Narina and Roo with countercoins
Narina and Roo of Cultural Squatters were the Newcastle hosts (photo credit: Fee Wood)

 

To CounterCoin, The Viable Economy is one in which volunteers are rewarded for the work they do, where they feel valued and where their own sense of self worth increases every time they immerse themselves in the CounterCoin Experience. For six volunteers at Cultural Squatters (CounterCoin’s spiritual home) this philosophy has already provided them with a successful pathway to full employment, and all since it opened on May 1st.

Viable Economy is also one in which social enterprises and charities can see how much easier it is to attract volunteers, promote their activities & achievements, and meet their financial sustainability objectives – sooner rather than later. It is one where they are able in a very practical sense, reduce their reliance on funding for which they have to compete with other charities in an outmoded commissioning process that hails from the Old Economy.

The Viable Economy is one in which local businesses have the opportunity to contribute to community action and volunteering at little or no cost, and secure in exchange the opportunity to promote their business, increase both footfall and their customer base and increase their revenues by selling off spare capacity for part cash part CounterCoin in a manner which does not devalue their product or service.

From the perspective of the public sector, The Viable Economy is one that continually invents new ways of cross-sector working that relieve the pressure on social services and helps take individuals off benefits because they too have found work that pays.

Overall, CounterCoin is aiming to develop a less wasteful and more sustainable, inclusive and resilient local economy.

What we would really like to see now is more and more people joining us – volunteers, social enterprises and most of all businesses – in helping to create a society that really does work for everyone.

Greater Manchester has given birth to many movements. But it’s time those movements discovered their common ground and joined forces as allies of Newcastle under Lyme and the Six Towns of Stoke on Trent, to show the rest of the world what can be achieved when community comes together and fights back. Please help bang the drum for CounterCoin with the message “We want you to help us to help you!!”

Our second piece (coming soon) will explore how Countercoin works.

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