There’s recently been a fantastic development in the world of timebanking! Along with @TimeBanksOrg we’ve supported the @PAUCIFoundation to set up a time bank in Ukraine! Timebank Verkhovyna has launched in West Ukraine helping to involve people displaced from Eastern Ukraine where they can feel valued and engaged in the local community. I am personally very proud and moved with their mention of my help.
Sadly, the world has lost a wonderful pioneer and trailblazer to the Timebanking movement early Sunday morning.
Dr. Edgar Cahn, age 86, One of the founders of timebanking, author of Time Dollars and No More Throw-Away People, embodied the highest ideals of both mobilizing communities to come together to express their strengths and to restore mutual care. He created a new way to link untapped social capacity to unmet social needs and for communities to come together to help promote trust, reciprocity, and citizen engagement. In the most beautiful way, Edgar moved people from his heart. He made each person feel that their problem is important and that he has all the time in the world for them.
Thank you, Edgar.
On behalf of the timebanking movement in the UK. Our deepest sympathies to not just his family but everyone that has been touched by him.
“We have what we need – if we use what we have” – Edgar Cahn
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Since 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!”
Timebanking UK’s ‘It’s About Time’ project, delivered in partnership with Richmond Fellowship’s time bank, Our Time, and Voluntary Arts England, has now gone live, with our groups across Liverpool having recorded their podcasts remotely from their homes.
Topics include the power of music to beat mental health problems, building confidence, and social media exclusion, and some powerful podcasts are emerging as the teams collaborate and support each other through the creative process.
All the podcasts have been devised and recorded by the participants themselves, drawing on their lived experience of mental health, and the programme has been led by BBC Radio Merseyside and freelance broadcaster John Offord and Our Time coordinator Vicki Pritchard.
The It’s About Time podcasts are available to listen to here, at Anchor FM.
The project, which was originally conceived to take place face-to-face, has been funded by the European Social Fund.
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.
St Neots is a thriving Cambridgeshire time bank with an active membership who love to take on new challenges. In March 2020, St Neots celebrated their eighth birthday – and they have helped people in all kinds of ways since they started in 2012.
Paul Wilson used to run his own business before the breakdown of his marriage precipitated a descent into alcoholism and homelessness. He’s now a trustee of Broadway, the homelessness charity that helped him turn his life around through timebanking. Here’s his story.