by Sue Palmer from the Volunteer Centre at Bossard House, West Street, Leighton Buzzard..
It should be easier to feel connected to what’s going on around us, but for many reasons, people can feel isolated.
Being new to an area, having young children, being a carer, having a disability or limited disposable income can all be factors in people staying at home, feeling disconnected with the outside world. Here in Central Bedfordshire we want to combat this by setting up ‘timebanks’.
Through a timebank, people offer their skills, services or talents, an hour at a time, in exchange for a ‘time credit’. They then exchange their time credit when it suits them, to benefit from another member’s skills, services or talents.
Common time exchanges include dog-walking, gardening, baking, light DIY, but teaching crafts, sharing hobbies, and passing on skills, (for example basic I.T. skills), are very popular too. Some timebanks also get businesses and public services involved, for example leisure centres, enabling members to benefit from their local resources in exchange for time credits. In return the leisure centre might benefit from timebank members’ help to steward ad-hoc events, keep grounds tidy or distribute leaflets.
Timebanking brings communities together, building neighbourly trust in a fun and sociable way. Because the value is set on people’s time, and no money is involved, benefits aren’t affected and everyone can join in.
If this all sounds interesting, why not come along to our next information session? Neil Drinkwater manages the West End Timebank and will be discussing how timebanking works and the amazing positive effect it is having on individuals and communities across the UK. He will also be offering advice on setting up successful timebanks here in Central Bedfordshire.
Neil will be speaking on Wednesday, April 15, from 11am-1pm at the Community House, in Sandhills, Leighton Buzzard. For full details, and to reserve a place, give the Volunteer Centre a call on 01525 850559.