What is Timebanking?
Timebanking is a means of exchange used to organise people around a purpose, where time is the principle currency. Timebanks are a great way to promote volunteering and help people get to know and lend a hand to each other.
A Timebank is set up with a coordinator to oversee activities and local people join as members, they make offers or ask for requests of help.
Different people have strengths in different areas, Timebanking is a simple way to give and receive time equally.
Anyone interested in joining a Timebank can do so free of charge. When new members join, they are invited to list what help they can offer, and the help they would like to receive; for example, shopping, help with form filling, help with phone calls, woodwork, knitting, DIY, cutting grass and helping with pets. They are then put in touch with others who need their skills, or can help them.
Everyone’s skills are valued equally, with each hour of help earning one hour of help back.
Cambourne Timebank was set up in 2012 and now has over 100 members. Last year they exchanged over 1,250 hours of time. Gardening make-overs and visiting older residents to collect stories from the past years were just two of many projects volunteers worked on.
Cambourne Timebank is co-ordinated by a part-time staff member employed by housing association, CHS Group.
How did they get started?
In the early years of the development of Cambourne Timebank, a consortium of Housing Associations employed a full time Community Development Worker. In addition they worked with one of our Community Development workers.
Early members of the Timebank came from volunteers in other community groups and projects and people who had engaged in activities run by the Community Development worker.
Key members formed a panel to help run the Timebank. They visited other Timebanks to see how they were run.
How is it funded?
The Timebank has received funding for projects from a range of sources including Greater Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (GCGP LEP), Cambridgeshire County Council Innovation Fund, and Skills for Care. We have joined with other Timebanks in the Cambridgeshire Timebanking Partnership to run fundraising campaigns including an art exhibition and a crowdfunding campaign.
Who helped with advice and guidance?
Somersham Timebank and Cambridgeshire County Council provided advice and support, for example to develop policies for adult safeguarding.
Timebanking UK is a national charity providing inspiration, information and practical support for Timebanking to become a part of everyday life for everyone. Their website is full of useful information including an excellent step-by-step guide to setting up a Timebank.
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