THREE new ‘time bank’ schemes are up and running in Southcote, Whitely Wood and Katesgrove, giving people the opportunity to share skills and make new friends in their local community.
Funded by Reading Borough Council, time banks provide a way for people to share skills with others in their community and be rewarded for it – in time. For every hour of time a person gives providing a service for another participant, they will receive one time credit. This can then be exchanged when they need something.
There are already over 100 time banks across England. Members can earn credits through exchanges such as gardening, car washing, cooking a meal, shopping, other neighbourly tasks or even just by having a coffee with someone.
In Reading, Anne Lancaster has the role of ‘time broker’ for the Reading time banks. Her job is to promote the time banks, encourage people to join, help them identify what they could offer to others, and arrange exchanges between members.
Anne said: “We have had a very positive initial response and we now have members in all three areas with over 40 skills on offer. The aim is of course to build up the number of people involved and the skills on offer.”
Liz Terry, Lead Member for Neighbourhoods at Reading Borough Council, said: “Everyone has valuable skills, experience or resources that may be of use to somebody else. Time banking is a simple way of people sharing what they have to offer in exchange for help themselves. It’s also a great way of bringing people together of different ages and backgrounds. The variety of skills which can be exchanged provides an opportunity for everyone to get involved.”
As well as the time banks launched in Southcote, Whitely Wood and Katesgrove, West Reading is also soon to benefit from one. The Oxford Road time bank has been set up by a group of local residents who want to celebrate the talents and skills in the community and provide an opportunity for people to get involved and meet new people.
Catherine Wilton, Chair and driving force behind the Oxford Road time bank, said: “Time banks have the power to transform communities and have been proven elsewhere to make a massive difference to people’s lives. We’re really excited to be able to bring this to the Oxford Road area as we know that there is a huge amount of talent and skills in the area which could benefit all. We already have a large number of people and organisations who want to get involved.”
The Oxford Road time bank is currently looking to recruit a part-time co-ordinator to help get the Time Bank up and running.
Time banks are free to join and do not affect benefits. There is no regular commitment, most exchanges are one-offs, providing the support that often money can’t buy. Members will be given the support they need to get the most out of the scheme. To safeguard all members, two references, and enhanced disclosure and barring service checks will be carried out with those exchanging.
Time broker Anne Lancaster will be at the Whitley Wood Community Centre, Swallowfield Drive Estate on August 13th, 20th and 27th August from 11am to 1pm. Residents from Southcote, Katesgrove, Oxford Rd and Whitley are invited to pop in and see her.
For more information, log on to http://www.readingtimebanks.org.uk