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Warwickshire County Council is calling on individuals and community groups to make a difference this Spring by joining the increasing number of volunteers taking part in the county’s timebanks. T...

Warwickshire County Council is calling on individuals and community groups to make a difference this Spring by joining the increasing number of volunteers taking part in the county’s timebanks.

Timebanks bring together volunteers to support, and receive support from, their neighbours in their communities.

The co-ordinators of Time4Warwickshire, Warwickshire County Council’s timebanking initiative that links residents with their local timebank, are keen to let people know that they can still help others in their community, even during lockdown and with social distancing measures in place, by offering support online via Zoom or Skype, or even just over the phone.

In short, timebanks are a way for people to help others in their community and be rewarded for it – in time. For every hour you give helping someone, you receive one hour back, called a time credit.

Everyone’s time is valued equally, so one hour of sharing skills or helping others is recognised by giving that person one hour as a time credit – a community loyalty point.

Examples of the type of online support that has been offered through timebanks in other parts of the country include everything from virtual coffee mornings, which give people at home a great chance to meet someone new, to members doing walks on their own with a GoPro (head-mounted camera) and then sharing the footage online with people who are unable to leave their homes because they are shielding.

Warwickshire County Council is calling on communities in the county to create timebanks where they don’t currently exist, and for individuals to join their local timebanks where they are already up and running.

All volunteers will be given guidance to ensure they have the support and skills they need by their local Time4Warwickshire timebank.

Examples of other skills you could share virtually as part of a timebank include: hosting an online quiz; an exercise or yoga routine, if you’re a qualified exercise instructor; family research advice; or computer support, such as advice on how to keep safe online, editing digital photos, or how to use Nextdoor and other social media.

Councillor Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Heritage & Culture, said: “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Warwickshire residents who have found themselves vulnerable and isolated without access to support from family, friends or neighbours, have been offered an incredible amount of help through the county’s voluntary groups and growing number of volunteers, in addition to direct help from Warwickshire County Council.

“With Springtime finally here and so much hope around the corner, timebanking provides a brilliant opportunity to support your neighbours and help your community get better and stronger as we start to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Volunteers already make a huge contribution to our county and there are many ways in which we can support our friends, families, colleagues and communities, taking into account the ‘stay at home’ message, social distancing and shielding.

“Timebanking is a fantastic way of using your skills to help others, getting help for things you need and, most wonderfully of all, continuing to make a difference in your community.”

Other successful timebanking projects around the UK include online music and dance sessions for older people, such as hand jiving and singing classes; online mock interviews; learn a new language; Lego challenges; poetry clubs; and online gaming, such as board games or battleships.

Some timebanks have been running book or film clubs over the phone, where timebank members read a book or watch a film and then call each other to talk about it. Guided meditation and breathing exercises have also been offered over the phone.

And, as society opens up again, activities such as postal quizzes, which are filled in and left outside the front door to be collected by a ‘quiz master’ who marks them and gives a rundown of the local winners, become possible, as does socially distanced gardening, where volunteers are given access to a homeowner’s garden with no physical contact.

Timebanks rely on the goodwill of people, organisations and communities to work. With six timebanks already, Warwickshire’s timebanking offer is set to make a difference, but there will be great community benefits when there were more schemes across the county.

Anybody thinking of joining or setting up a timebank in their local area should contact the Time4Warwickshire team on: 

Cheryl Jones (North) on 07443 345610 & Mick Spicer (South) on 07825 938396. 

Or via email: [email protected] 

Or search ‘Time4Warwickshire’ on Facebook. 

Published: 5th March 2021