New currency for Hackney’s homeless launched

Graffiti artist Stik poses with the new City and Hackney Time Credit

Graffiti artist Stik poses with the new City and Hackney Time Credit. Pic: Ben Matthews

A new currency has been launched for Hackney’s homeless with help from graffiti artist, Stik.

The London-based artist has designed the central image on the new Time Credit Notes that can be spent on various community, culture and leisure activities in the borough, and at other major attractions in London.

The currency, launched by Spice Time Credits and City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group is designed to encourage the residents of St Mungo’s hostel, Mare Street Hackney to volunteer their time in exchange for the notes. For every hour they volunteer, they earn one note.

Stik, who was once a resident at the Mare Street hostel in South Hackney said of his design: “The hugging image used on the note represents time spent with loved ones in times of struggle.

“I lived in the Mare Street hostel a few years ago. They understood that street art was an important part of my recovery and didn’t ask too many questions when I came back at night covered head to toe in paint.”

The artist has work all over the world with installations in Japan, Jordan and New York amongst others but is most famous for his graffiti work of stick people.

The project is designed to give people the opportunity to play a role in their community rather than being passive recipients of welfare. 

St Mungo’s residents can clean communal areas, organise activities, and some have facilitated peer support sessions.

The residents contributed to the design of the note, choosing colours and images that they felt represented Hackney and the hostel for them.

Becky Booth, CEO of Spice, said: “Everyone wakes up with the same amount of time, no matter what your background, skills or experience. So why not build an economy where time is shared and exchanged to develop your community?”

Spice began in South Wales and has been proven to ‘increase community cohesion, raise levels of volunteering and improve health.’

Since 2008 it is estimated that over 22,000 users have earned the currency and 450,000 Time Credits have been issued across England and Wales.

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