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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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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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New time bank opened in Winchester

The latest time bank to open in Winchester set up shop in an old council office off the high street.

52 volunteers were there, along with the leader of the council to welcome the latest project which is allied with the NHS Trust in Winchester.

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Help after a major surgery

After having major bowel surgery, I realised that I had limited capacity to undertake every day normal tasks and my mobility was limited. I approached Action for Children service for support in relation to benefits advice, and whilst there I noticed a poster advertising the More Nosh for Dosh group. As cooking was a passion of mine and the venue was close to my home, I was able to attend.

I have been attending the More Nosh 4 Dosh sessions for 8 months. I was approached by Amanda in October about Volunteering through Timebanking.  I have since been supporting families at the group to make meals on a budget, and I was approached to do a small buffet for senior management within Action for Children on the 8th January. I have now banked enough hours on Timebank to look for help with decorating at home. Amanda had spoken to me and suggested that I use my credits by advertising on the Action or Children notice board for a decorator. A match was found the following week and I have now secured a date for other Timebank members to complete the work for me.

I am pleased with the service that I have been given through Timebank and I now have the confidence to approach other community members about what they could gain from Volunteering opportunities.

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