By Grace Maselli

Yes, you read it right. Booyah: “Used to express joy, especially over a well-played or victorious moment in sports.” When this humble blogger took a second to look up one of the kookiest words ever, it revealed itself as the first piece in a bread crumb trail leading to London and timebanking’s back story. It’s relevant to note that booyah is also a thick stew “of probable Belgian origin made throughout the Upper Midwestern United States,” and a stomach pleaser, arguably, depending on your dietary persuasion. Putting the two together, (1) booyah as exercise and, by extension, health, and (2) booyah as homemade food (ideally, nutritious food, maybe even made with organic, pasture-raised ingredients), the question the bread crumb trail leads to is, how might health and timebanks be connected?
The Doctor Is In

London’s Dr. Isabel Garcia’s work gives us a clue in a superb report from the New Economics Foundation (NEF), “Keeping the GP Away, an NEF Briefing about Community Time Banks and Health. Notably, the NEF and the good doctor were way ahead of this September 2018 post, having penned the report 16 years earlier in February 2002. The New Economics Foundation and the concept of timebanking was developed far earlier still, in 1986, at the London School of Economics by Washington law professor Edgar Cahn, the report’s details reveal. The report also explains that  timebanking, “works like a blood bank or babysitting club: ‘Help a neighbour and then, when you need it, a neighbour—most likely a different one—will help you.'”

The NEF’s and Dr. Garcia’s findings came from tracking people’s post-surgical health needs in “Rushey Green,” an electoral ward in the London Borough of Lewisham and set against the backdrop of England’s National Health Service.

Here’s an excerpt from the report’s conclusion:

1. The community time bank approach does help to engage patients as partners in the business of delivering health. It does this by helping to shift the focus from people’s problems to their abilities.
2. Time banks can lever hidden resources in the community. The Rushey Green model seems to be able to access people’s time and goodwill in such a way that they can provide a useful arm to the surgery.
3. Time banks allow health centres to supply a broader view of health. Time banks are not a stand-alone model, but a flexible approach that can be grafted onto existing activities.
4.  Mutual support can make a difference to the way people experience the NHS. Mutual volunteering among patients through a time bank can benefit both the giver and the receiver.

To this conclusion, dear reader, let’s shout booyah in honor of every well-played and victorious moment in the sport of keeping people connected within their timebanking communities. And for the joy that comes with the collective health and well-being of as many as possible.

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