Time to speak up

Timebanking UK has been working with partners across the country to give a voice to people who have been hit hard by the pandemic, whether because of mental health issues, low income, unemployment or other challenges. The European Social Fund (ESF) has funded training and support to help TBUK work with Creative Lives, Richmond Fellowship, Coventry and Warwickshire Cooperative Development Agency and the BBC on a series of projects… and they’re seeking participants for the latest training programme, Sound Ideas to Share.

Sound Ideas to Share will equip those who take part with the skills they need to find employment in the creative or broadcasting area, and will include a set of training sessions from BBC Radio Merseyside’s Ngunan Adamu. The sessions are fun and interactive, and people will learn how to write a compelling trailer and intro, how to find and brief guests, and how to record, upload and promote their podcasts. They also have the chance to find out about timebanking and share their skills with others through a time bank.

Last year, TBUK worked with Richmond Fellowship’s Vicki Pritchard, who runs Our Time time bank in Liverpool, and producer John Offord, along with a group of enthusiastic trainee podcasters, to produce It’s About Time, a series of podcasts exploring their own lived experience of mental health issues. One of the participants, Aaron Mckenna, a member of Mencap Liverpool and Sefton, has gone on to make further podcasts.

Earlier in 2020, another crew of amateur broadcasters, this time in Coventry and Warwickshire, got together to create three more broadcasts, as part of the Sound Ideas stable of podcasts, again working with John Offord (see below). The team were joined at the celebration to mark their success by Mick Spicer, who runs Time 4 Warwickshire.

A group of people are standing together. Some are kneeling. Some of the people are holding certificates. They are smiling.

If you know someone in the Liverpool area who might benefit from learning a set of new skills – as well as making new friends and gaining self-confidence – please call Vicki Pritchard on 07901 517336.

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Saints fans score a success

As football grounds welcome back supporters and students are set to return to universities, we thought we’d share a story from two former time bank members who fit those categories.

Neil and Miles, both Southampton FC fans, met as members of Southampton Timebank [currently on hold as a result of Covid]. Miles earned timebanking hours making befriending calls to Neil – and the two soon became fast friends. Miles, who’s since graduated, had been a Human Geography student at the town’s university. He explains, “I’ve loved living in Southampton; however, I’ve had to move back to my home town back in Bath, where I’ve been since lockdown started.”

Timebanking was new to both Neil and Miles when they first met. Neil recalls, “I heard about timebanking after watching this TedX talk by Sarah Bird, the CEO of Timebanking UK. I thought the concept of giving people your time, over money, was something I wanted to be a part of. I wanted to stay involved with Southampton Timebank while I was in lockdown in Bath, so thought being a phone buddy would be the best way to do this.”

For Neil, finding out about the time bank came as a result of acute need. He says, “A key worker for the council provided the time bank’s telephone number, as I needed food delivered during lockdown.

“I called Lynda from Southampton Timebank, who organised someone to deliver the food. After a few weeks, I found out the volunteer had broken her elbow and was in a wheelchair, but she still delivered my shopping. I thought to myself, it’s incredible how she went out of her way for me despite her own struggles.”

The time bank also connected Neil with Miles as a phone friend. Neil says, “As it’s just me in the flat, I really appreciated having a phone buddy as it could get lonely at times. Because of my type 2 diabetes, I had to shield, and living alone all day isn’t easy, particularly as you can’t go out and see friends.”

The two soon bonded over their love for Saints, though both of them came at it from unusual angles. Miles explains, “My favourite sport is rugby, but I am in fact a Saints supporter, as my grandad made sure of that!”

For Neil, meanwhile, his loyalties are torn in another direction. He says, “I’m also a West Germany and Bayern Munich supporter, as the first club I went to see. Even though I’m not German and we get beaten in Europe, I’m still sticking with my shirt. I must be the only Englishman who supports Germany!” 

“I really look forward to having my weekly catch up with Neil on a Sunday,” says Miles. “I don’t think either of us had ever been a phone buddy before, but we seemed to both share a passion for sport so we never run out of things to say!

“It’s amazing how easy it is to get to know someone even without ever seeing them or speaking to them in person. Neil always makes me laugh… and I rely on him to fill me in with all the news that’s gone on that week. He also keeps me up to date with what’s going on with the Saints footy…” 

Neil adds, “It’s good to have somebody, even if you don’t see them – you can’t always talk to friends during lockdown. It’s been great to carry on our weekly conversations beyond lockdown and get to know one another a lot more.”

Miles concludes, “One of the biggest things I’ve learned from lockdown and being a phone buddy is that we all have a lot more in common than we sometimes think. Although Neil tells me there’s a slight age difference between us, we actually have a lot in common and, when you speak over the phone, it’s great how you can focus on the commonalities, rather than the differences between us.”

If you are interested in becoming involved in timebanking, please email info@timebanking.org.

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Kickstart vacancies at TBUK

Timebanking UK has two part-time positions available as part of the Kickstart Scheme, which aims to support young people at risk of long-term unemployment into work.

To find out more about each of the roles, click on the links below.

To apply, please send a CV and cover letter to Sarah Bird at sarah@timebanking.org, stating which role you are interested in. All roles are for 25 hours a week, Monday to Friday.

Bid writing assistant
Project coordinator

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Woolmer Forest hits 6 million!

A time bank in Hampshire bank has made history by recording the 6 millionth timebanking hour.

After weeks of watching as the numbers got closer and closer to the magical six million mark, TBUK’s IT manager Ian Toplis announced that the time bank that tipped the balance was Woolmer Forest in Hampshire, which serves the area around Whitehill and Bordon.

Claire Coxwell, the time bank’s hard-working manager (pictured right), said, “How amazing that Woolmer Forest Timebank is the one out of all the time banks in the UK who achieved the six millionth timebanking hour!”

The six millionth hour was earned by time bank member Daphne, who’s been supporting another member, Sue, by phoning her regularly to talk to her through a difficult time.

TBUK’s CEO Sarah Bird said, “Claire, we’re so very proud of you, Daphne, and Sue for helping TBUK and our timebanking community reach this amazing milestone. It’s a huge achievement for you and your members, for all of our British time banks, and for the timebanking movement.”

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International Timebanking Day

Timebanking is a truly international phenomenon, with roots in Japan and the UK. The first ‘time banks’ appeared in the USA in the 1980s, thanks to Edgar Cahn, the ‘father of timebanking’.

To mark Edgar’s birthday on Tuesday 23 March, our friends and partners at Timebanks.Org are hosting the third International Timebanking Day, with events spread across Sunday and Tuesday that stretch from New Jersey to New Zealand and tap into the experience of time bank members of a range of ages and backgrounds.

To find out about the events that are going on and maybe take part, click here.

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Timebanking for beginners

Two women are holding a t shirt that says 'ask me about timebanking'. They are in front of a timebanking display. They're both smiling.

If you’d like to find out how timebanking works, come along to one of our online sessions and find out how timebanking makes people feel happier, healthier and better connected. You’ll also discover why timebanking is great for communities – and for companies or larger organisations.

Each stand-alone Zoom session explains how timebanking works in practice, and how Timebanking UK can help you start a time bank in your neighbourhood or workplace.

Please click on the relevant session to register. We look forward to seeing you there!

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A FAB effort!

Christmas food parcels ready for deliverySince the onset of the pandemic, Ann Holloway of Fauldhouse and Breich Valley (better known as FAB) Timebank has found she’s had to change the way she works.

FAB Timebank is part of the Community Development Trust, and Ann explains that her timebanking work paused at the first lockdown as she took on a lot of anti-poverty work helping people most in need. With food hampers, teas, Christmas bags and welfare packages, Ann and her team have ensured no one in their community has been left isolated.

However, Ann is now looking forward to getting back to timebanking again, as so many of her members would rather meet up in person than online. And, with the new post-Covid roadmap now in place, time bank members can begin to think about resuming the activities they so enjoy.

Despite the challenges the pandemic has thrown at them, FAB Timebank has found a number of silver linings, including closer work with community partners.

Ann told us, “HMP Addiewell worked with us over Christmas, with residents and staff giving us help with hampers and afternoon tea – we’re now one of their chosen charities. We also have a local Masonic lodge with a large garden that can used by a local school for children with complex needs special needs to grow food for cookery classes.”

As Ann explains, Easter is always a busy time for FAB Timebank, and she’s not going to let the pandemic stop her this year: “We plan to do an Easter Hunt around the village using catchphrases with local shops participating. The phrases are printed out for children to find in shop windows – and I don’t know how I’ll do it, but I’ll make sure everyone who does the trail gets an egg!”



 

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Uttlesford adjusts to the pandemic

Steve and Mark are friends, both working at Stansted Airport, and sharing a flat together. They found out about Time Bank Uttlesford through their Airport Community Team, which looks for ways in which the airport can help out in the community. Steve has been involved in quite a few gardening exchanges during the Covid 19 pandemic while being furloughed from his job at the airport. 

Time Bank Uttlesford’s broker Tessa says, “These gardening opportunities have been hugely beneficial to both parties involved; as people have been stuck at home, unable to work and with shops, pubs, and gyms all closed, these exchanges give valuable social, health and wellbeing opportunities to the Time Bank members taking part. Stansted Airport have been a member since September 2015 and have been involved in many group exchanges over the past years.”

The beneficiary in this case was Jacki, a member of Time Bank Uttlesford since January 2019. Jacki has been very active in the time bank, setting up a seated exercise class which has been a huge success for over a year now. During the pandemic, she had to move to holding an online Zoom class, helping participants to learn about Zoom in the process. She has also been helping out with shopping, prescription fulfilment, leading walks and ‘neighbourhood nattering’! It was time she used some of her time credits, so Steve and Mark working on her lawn edging was ideal. 

During the afternoon Steve had told her about one of his previous exchanges at a care home, of which Jacki wholeheartedly approved. 

“I think it is a very positive thing to do,” says Jacki. “It’s a great way to show others outside of timebanking what enjoyment one gets out of helping people. The fun those two chaps had at the care home – they really had a ball and were rewarded with tea, cake and very kind words. That’s what it’s all about!”

“Jacki was thrilled with the result and could not have been happier with such a great tea,” explains Tessa. “There was a lot of laughter and merriment and it was just wonderful to be able to be socialising, safely, during these testing and challenging times. The weather, as you see from the photo, was also smiling for us! All in all it was a really uplifting afternoon and we all came away feeling much more joyful and optimistic about everything.”

Time Bank Uttlesford has been very busy during the pandemic, as part of the Uttlesford Community Response Team, delivering prescriptions, shopping, telephone befriending and dog exercising for many beneficiaries. “We’ve been gradually exploring the Zoom world as well and, being part of the Essex Time Bank Network, are part of the Friday afternoon T@3 Zoom sessions,” says Tessa.

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