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Setting up a timebank

Every Timebank is different. They are different because we are all different. But we have learnt some things that can help you to achieve the things you want to achieve…….

These steps are a light touch guide to suggest some of things you might need to consider

Step 1: Why?

Timebanking is great at ‘opening’ up ‘stuff’. That means often we overlook or take for granted skills and resources (both in people and physical resources) if you could unlock the hidden assets and wealth how could you use this abundance.

The important thing to remember is that timebanking is a tool, not an end in itself.  So the place to start is to clearly outline what you hope to achieve and to identify why you think timebanking can help. This will establish your VISION. It is ok to do this without including lots of people at this stage so long as you are prepared to adapt it later………….someone has to get the ball rolling and besides sometimes it’s good for someone to have a clear idea of where they are going!

Note: Try to resist the temptation is to rush ahead and rush to set something up, this first stage is about having different conversations and thinking about purpose is vital to the sustainability of timebanks……… will really help you in the long run!

Step 2: It’s good to talk

Now you have your vision it’s time to test it. Co-design will be really important. Who do you need to help you develop your ideas further? Who is already sitting at the table and who should be in the empty chairs? The more help you can get at this stage the better and if you can manage to get others excited now you will be much more likely to get them involved later when you need some help to run, manage and maintain the timebank, if that becomes the route you choose to go down.

Some questions might be; what else is going on in your area? Are there any timebanking projects to go and look at? Who else is interested in your area?

It is during this stage that you can begin to think about whether you might need a specified coordinator for the timebank – a ‘broker’ – or not. Typically the broker role is important if the timebank is working with vulnerable people. If so the broker can perform an important role by organising or supervising exchanges.

Note: Remember be kind to yourself……..these are still early days. It will be hard but try to keep open to new developments and ideas

Step 3: Start the action: Asset mapping

We think a great way to begin to get active is through asset mapping. By using the group you have brought together to help you with your thinking you can build an asset map for your area. An asset map is a great way of identifying and understanding the resources you have within your community. An individual has abilities and capacities and organizations to have many resources that you might be able to access. The mapping will not only help you to see what you have but will start the process of building connections, relationships and networks between people and people, people and organizations and organizations and organizations. Asset mapping starts with what you have, helps you to build the capacity and problem solving skills within your community and potentially leads to a stronger local sense of determination.

Note; Asset mapping at this stage will be a great way of getting other people and organizations excited by your ideas

Step 4: Bringing timebanking to life

So now you have a team and they have come together to achieve a common purpose and agree to a vision, you know what resources you have in your area and will already have an idea of how to start sharing them………Now it is time to get going with the actual exchanges.

Timebanking UK has software that can help you organise and keep track of exchanges, advice and guidance on insurance, and funding. But there is no prescription on what works – the energy and vitality of those involved is the key to building momentum.

 Good luck!

Timebanking UK offers training and consultancy support for organisations thinking about timebanking. If you have any questions please leave them as comments below and we will get back to you on the site with some answers.

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