HUMANE – Hull’s Urban-Scale Mutual Aid Network Economy, Hull, UK

The Mutual Aid Hub has a community space in East Hull with land, a professional kitchen and soon to be business incubator co-working space. The Hub hosted by TimeBank Hull and East Riding is however a network of networks which covers the region of Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire. The aspiration, to be at the heart of building a regenerative system of mutual aid in our area.  Focussing on a process of connecting, collaborating, creating and celebrating this network of networks is weaving connections between community members, organisations and businesses to unlock strengths based collaboration utilising the tools of mutual aid. Through the pandemic the organisation has been holding space for members to connect, process and learn together. Many projects  led by members have emerged through this period which will impact on health and wellbeing, food security, community resilience, climate change (living with water locally), employment and ethical business incubation.

Hull has developed a new vision for tackling poverty that concentrates on long term cultural change as opposed to short term, fragmented response. This approach draws on the time and assets of local people and organisations in a community wide response. Each society has under used resources, e.g time/buildings and unmet need for these same things. The solution will link these units through mutual aid, co-production and ownership, inclusion, collaboration and social innovation and build a second layer collaborative economy where these values are practised and embedded in organisational culture, creating opportunities for citizens to co-produce and access goods and services independently from local and central government. The collaborative economy will provide urban resilience independently of the fate of government and the mainstream economy and can compensate in times of economic crisis as this is likely to increase the spare capacity of labour within the secondary economy and the demand for its goods and services. The solution will work with the local and national Timebank to promote its principles of asset based, mutual aid and co-production as key elements and use the TB as a network building organisation and with TimeBank UK (TBUK) to support scale and reproducibility. The solution will see the TB working with Hull’s complementary local cryptocurrency (Hull Coin) to create an exchange mechanism that will demonstrate how co-operation and interchangeability of non monetary currencies can strengthen inclusion by decentralised mutual exchange. A partnership with digital technology providers will also demonstrate opportunities to use emerging technologies to support local communities and exploit this tech for social good. The skills built will be transferable to the mainstream economy. The solution will deliver cultural change at a time when the city is leading the way on culture as the City of Culture 2017 to encourage participation and ensure we achieve the required critical mass.