Timebanking for individuals
Isn’t timebanking the same as volunteering?
Yes and no! Technically speaking, timebanking is reciprocal informal volunteering, where each member can offer skills and time, and request skills and time from other people in return. Timebanking is flexible and enables people to dip in and out as much as they like, donating their time as they wish. It works around your own lifestyle and existing commitments, and there are no obligations.
What if I don’t have any ‘skills’ to share?
Everyone has something to offer – even the simplest of tasks can have a positive impact on someone’s life. Everyday activities such as chatting to someone, playing cards, reading aloud, picking up shopping, walking a dog or doing some ironing can make a real difference.
What if I don’t have much time to give?
The beauty of timebanking compared with traditional volunteering is that it’s completely flexible: you only offer your time when you can and want to offer it. You could offer just one hour per week, per month, or even per year!
How do I get or give time?
Join your local time bank for FREE. If there isn’t one, why not start your own? Either way, check out our joining pages to get started.
What if I don’t want anything back?
Timebanking works best when members are both giving and receiving time. Ours is a reciprocal model, which means it’s based upon sharing time – and being able to share their skill can help some of our more isolated members develop a real sense of self-worth. However, if you really don’t want to spend your time credits, you can donate them to another time bank member or the community pot, so that someone else in the time bank can benefit from them.
Can I give my hours to someone else?
Yes, you’re free to give your hours to a friend or family member, or you could give them to the time bank for the community pot.
What’s a community pot?
Many time banks have a community pot, which allows members to donate their time credits for others to use. For example, if someone has just come out of hospital, they may need more support for a period of time but may not have many time bank credits to spend. The community pot can also be used to help people or organisations who are not time bank members but who would benefit from informal community support. They may later decide to join the time bank, giving them an opportunity to ‘give back’ their own skills to help others.
Will timebanking affect my benefit claims?
The short answer is ‘no’. If you’re claiming Universal Credit or other benefits that require you to look for work for 35 hours a week, timebanking may even count towards your jobseeking hours – but make sure you speak to your work coach about it first.
Do I need money to access a time bank?
Timebanking is FREE for members, but if you’re requesting a service, you might be expected to supply any materials unless you make arrangements with your exchange partner beforehand. For example, if you want someone to paint a door, you’ll need to supply the paint, brush and protective sheet – or give your exchange partner the money to buy them for you. Time banks often have a bank of donated materials, so it’s worth checking before you buy anything. Group activities run by time banks such as a knitting circle are free, but you may be expected to bring your own wool and needles – check beforehand to be sure.
Is timebanking safe?
The safety of all Timebanking UK members is our top priority and each time bank will follow agreed policies and procedures, and have sensible safety measures in place:
- Local time bank members will meet prospective new members in person before they join
- All new members will be invited to participate in group activities and events before they begin to offer one–to–one exchanges
- Time banks will risk–assess activities carried out by members
- Each member must agree to and sign a code of conduct. If they breach this, they may be asked to leave the time bank
- Each time bank has a complaints system in place
- Time banks should have public liability insurance
- Personal information is never passed on without the permission of the member
- All personal data is secure and can only be accessed by the time bank brokers or coordinators
- Neither Timebanking UK nor your local time bank will ever sell your contact details to third parties
How do data protection rules apply to timebanking?
Time banks use and protect any information you give them. Time banks require personal information so they can understand your needs and provide you with a better service. Timebanking UK is committed to protecting your privacy, and our members adhere to the Data Protection Act 2017 and the EU General Data Protection Regulation.