Catherine Ross and Lynda Burrell, co-founders of Museumand
We at Museumand – the National Caribbean Heritage Museum have organised an exhibition at the Bank of England Museum about Pardner Hand, a community savings scheme close to the hearts of the Caribbean community here in the UK and in the Caribbean. It enables people to save as a group, with everyone putting in a set amount of money at a regular interval, such as £20 each week. Each person, or ‘pardner’, taking it in turns to receive the pot, or ‘hand,’ of money. One person is appointed as ‘banker’ to hold the pot until it’s ready to give out.
Community savings schemes can be traced back as far as 3000 BC in Africa. They evolved to meet people’s needs as societies transitioned from small, rural communities to larger, industrial cities and towns. Today, people use the Pardner Hand system to save for the things they want or need. Their weekly or regular savings means that when it is time for them to get their hand, they have access to a large amount of money at once which allows them to buy big ticket items such as holidays or home appliances.