Heading towards its fifth birthday next year, Clonakilty Favour Exchange (CFE) is thriving with a renewed interest from members old and new in 2016, who are enjoying the benefits of a redesigned website. This community initiative is a skills and labour exchange system that involves no money. It is at heart ‘an economy of goodwill’ with its own currency – the favour.
Members may enjoy the benefits of exchanging favours with a range of skilled people offering services as diverse as web design, homeopathy and catering. Everything from homegrown veg to vintage items have been exchanged over the years and work groups organised for decorating, gardening or moving house.
Membership is open to anyone who agrees to the guidelines and the exchanging terms of the CFE.
The Clonakilty Favour Exchange uses a system of time banking where the exchange unit is called the favour and each favour is worth 15 minutes. “Everybody’s time is completely equal so it doesn’t matter what you’re offering the exchange, we measure our contribution in time – it’s a democracy like that,” explains Olive Walsh. “If somebody was to do me four favours, those favours would be added to their account and taken away from mine and they can redeem those favours from anyone in the exchange so it doesn’t have to be direct swapping.
“The benefits to our family were enormous. We became part of a vibrant community very quickly. People who were drawn to join CFE had many shared aspirations for creating community. To this day, I am so grateful for the many wonderful friendships and associations that have come out of CFE. I also gained great experience organising events like the monthly Favour Fayre, which was hosted by one of our members, the wonderful O’Donovan family, who allowed us to use their hotel for favours.
Olive’s daughter received surfing, cooking and music lessons at a time when the family could not have afforded to pay for these activities. She also made many new friends. “In exchange we offered a helping hand with anything we were able to do like gardening and babysitting,” says Olive. “I spent most of my favours at the Fayre on art, craft and wonderful homecooked food. If you wanted your gutters cleared, your chickens dispatched or advice from a vet, it was all available in exchange for your time.”
A music exchange takes place every month, thanks to the generosity of the hosts The Clonakilty Hotel. This is a forum for music lovers to perform and listen to each other. “It has been a joy to see individuals grow in skill and confidence over the last year and it’s open to everyone, CFE members or not,” explains Olive.
The CFE coffee meet-up at O’Donovan’s on a Wednesday morning at 11am is still going after several years and is also open to everyone.
Clonakilty’s community Mayor, Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin had this to say about the CFE.
“We are blessed in the Clonakilty area to have such an array and mixture of talented people — both natives and those who have come to live here for various reasons.
“The CFE is a great initiative, so practical, so simple, so much common sense, and so Clonakilty!
“I want to on behalf of the people of Clonakilty, to compliment all who have got stuck in and relaunched the Clonakilty Favour Exchange. I ask people to get involved, support it, use it, contribute to it, volunteer your skills and talents.
“As well as the practicalities of the scheme of people availing of skills of fellow-members, there is also a great social aspect to it.
“This is community at it’s best”
For more information or to join CFE go to clonakiltyfavourexchange.ie.