A new London-wide time bank is hoping to make it easier for people across the city to help each other. Timesight London has been started by Timebanking UK (TBUK) with support from Vision Foundation, with the aim of forging connections between visually impaired and non-visually impaired Londoners. The project has earned the endorsement of TBUK’s patron, Lord Low of Dalston, a former chair of the RNIB and a passionate advocate for removing barriers to access; you can hear Lord Low explaining the concept of timebanking in this clip.
Timebanking is distinct from traditional volunteering because it doesn’t label people as ‘those who help’ and ‘those who need help’ – in a time bank, every member can both give and receive time. That means that people who have been isolated, out of work, or suffering from ill health can rediscover their own skills and talents and develop a renewed sense of self-worth. It also makes it easy for people with differing abilities to find ways to keep their skills sharp – even at times of reduced employment.
Timesight London has been started up to facilitate an active and symbiotic relationship between people who might otherwise never meet. The time bank is fully accessible for people with visual impairments, with software designed for text-to-speech applications, and support on hand to help people create and fulfil requests.
“Like all time banks, Timesight London starts with its members,” explains John, TBUK project leader for Timesight London. “The time bank makes it easy for visually impaired members to request some one-off support negotiating post-Covid changes to a tube station, for example – and it also enables them to share their own skills and to support other members.
“One of our most active members is Ian, an IT expert who’s registered blind, who has been earning timebanking hours by showing other members how to use specialist software. Over 30 people are already signed up to the time bank. Exchanges can take place in person or in groups, or online, and the TBUK team are on hand to walk people through the process and ensure they feel comfortable and safe.”
The time bank uses TBUK’s specialist software Time Online 2, which acts as a ‘shopfront’ for members’ offers and requests and makes it easy for people to arrange exchanges. Timebanking UK host a FREE session to demonstrate the software on Friday 14 January 2022 at 2pm – you can register here. If you’d like to reap the benefits of being part of a time bank or know someone who would, why not join Timesight London? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.