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.
Former librarian Anna is a member of Fair Shares Stroud, the town’s time bank. She had been worried that, once she’d retired, she’d miss the bustle and interest of her job and the people she worked with and helped at the library. And, though as a talented artist and gardener with many friends, she knew she wouldn’t be short of things to do, she wanted to do something for her community.
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.
Dennis, who’s in his 50s, was referred to Bath time bank by social services and the local police because he had high support needs, could not read or write and often found himself in trouble with the law.
Sally is the coordinator of West Wight Time Bank, the UK’s most southerly time bank – and the only one on an island. She tells us how timebanking can help everyone find skills they can offer to others.