Reasons to be Cheerful…part 1

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PadlockTrawling the twitterverse earlier today, I stumbled across a link to an interesting new community initiative launching in Estonia this month – The Bank of Happiness.

The Bank of Happiness is a virtual collaboration network that allows residents of Estonia to share their skills and time within their communities.   While it is called a ‘bank’, the Bank of Happiness is not about making Estonia a money-free state, it is more about creating community cohesion and community support systems, and allowing individuals to put their skills to good use – which is especially pertinent for those people who may have lost their jobs as a result of the recession. 

The Bank of Happiness is a way of trading good deeds and altruism – and not necessarily on a reciprocal basis either.

Founder Tiina Urm says,

“We call it a bank because we want to bring forth a new set of values…at the moment we are glued to other people only through money. But that’s not how we evolved as a society. We used to work as a team.”

This sentiment is shared by The Council on Social Action, who, in the paper “Stronger Communities, Stronger Economy” states that recent work on happiness and wellbeing exposes the deceit of excessive earning and owning as proxies for the good society.

The Council, which was set up to advise central government on the agenda for social action here in the UK, has proposed the paper ‘Stronger Communties, Stronger Economy’, to examine whether the recession provides an opportunity to rebuild a better, fairer society, and discusses what we need to do now to ensure that we emerge from the current economic challenges with stronger, more connected and more caring communities.

Two of the proposals within the paper, are very similar in nature to the thinking behind the Bank of Happiness.  

The first, “Common Goals“, is a programme that would deploy and develop the skills of those with reduced working hours or no paid work and which would focus this national resource on the sustainable legacy of stronger, healthier, more engaged and more supportive communities.

The second proposal is that of a “National Talent Bank” which would manage the wholesale brokerage of work.

So could we launch a similar programme to the Bank of Happiness here in the UK? 

Well, the Council on Social Action is still receiving feedback from on their proposals before they make recommendations to central government.  Anyone can feedback to the council, so if you have any thoughts or would like to comment on any of the proposals  please email

The Bank of Happiness launches later in May

Read the full summary of the thinking behind “Stronger Communities, Stronger Economy” here >>>

Read more about the Bank of Happiness here >>>


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