Weâ€™ve been catching up with our time banks all over the country to find out how theyâ€™ve been working in the community to respond to the COVID19 crisis. Weâ€™ve heard how many people are turning to them, from their own time bank members to bigger organisations such as local councils and larger charities â€“ because our time banks know exactly who the most isolated are, and who is able to help them.
While we’ve found that the majority of timebanking activity has been put on hold, some of our time bank members have still been carrying out exchanges and banking hours, including gardening (with no physical contact), interior painting (while homeowner was quarantined elsewhere), dog-walking, writing, and hosting one-to-one yoga sessions.
Zoom has been a lifesaver for many of our time banks, with many of them taking their social activities online, including Games, Gardening and Knit and Natter groups.â€Ż
But our timebanking response hasnâ€™t been without challenges.
One time bank member was stopped by the police while on his way to an exchange at an empty house. The time bank in question has issued a letter than can be produced in such situations. Our time banks have reported members feeling cut off and lonely without their usual exchanges, and for some, online events are not an options. Many of our time banks have been making phone calls and writing letters to get around this issue. Lack of public transport has also been a problem for time bank members and brokers without access to their own vehicles.
However, we can report an increase in the number of people enquiring about setting up or becoming part of a time bank. We feel weâ€™re riding a wave of public spiritedness and community connectedness, and weâ€™re anxious to capitalise on this to keep our communities strong going forward. Weâ€™re exploring possibilities with like-minded organisations, forming part of Eden Communities’ Community Action Response, and talking with the National Association of Link Workers and the National Academy for Social Prescribing to help signpost isolated and vulnerable people to timebanking.
Do get in touch if youâ€™d like to partner with us on a project, either now or once we return to some semblance of normal: email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Timebanking UK has come up with a fresh way of building self-esteem in young offenders with the aim of cutting re-offending rates and combating loneliness.
Timebanking UK (TBUK) is working with Young Offendersâ€™ Institutions (YOI) to enable residents to earn time credits for work they do during their sentence â€“ and theyâ€™re seeking funding through Avivaâ€™s crowdfunding platform, the Aviva Community Fund.
Young offenders earn time credits by supporting each other following training from the Samaritans, or by setting up recreational clubs, attending vocational and educational courses, or teaching.
TBUK distributes the credits they earn to time banks around the country, who give them to isolated or vulnerable people who need help with tasks such as shopping or housework.
As the time banks report back on how their credits have been used, young offenders are able to see the impact their work has had. Their efforts improve the lives of others â€“ and this may be the first time these young men can see their actions having a positive impact of this kind. Lack or empathy is statistically proven to be a major indicator in re-offending, and timebanking creates empathy and connectedness in a unique and highly effective way.
Claire Coxwell of Woolmer Forest Timebank in Hampshire says sheâ€™s delighted to have the opportunity to distribute the hours. She explains, â€śA lady approached us about getting some IT help. Sheâ€™s a full-time carer for her disabled husband and also looks after grandchildren.â€ť
Claire says the time bank member has had some IT support and is now looking forward to giving time back to her time bankâ€¦ but the credits donated by young offenders means she can enjoy additional support.
Young offenders can also save time credits for their release. By joining a time bank, they can use their credits to get help with writing their CV, for example, or to get advice on budgeting or jobseeking, or they can use them for mentoring and support.
TBUKâ€™s funding drive will enable them to roll out the scheme across the UK, enabling more young offenders to start making connections with the wider community that will increase their chances of staying on the straight and narrow upon their release.
To support Timebanking UK with our fundraising drive, visit https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/the-gift-of-time