Time banking rewards people for exchanging their time and help with others, so for every hour they spend helping someone, they can receive an hour’s help in return, no matter what the task.
The idea originated in Japan, but first went big in America, and came to Britain in the late 1990s. There are thousands of time banks around the world, all serving their local community.
Here in Stratford-upon-Avon, a time bank was first set up in 2012 by Gloucester-based time bank Fair Shares, with financial support from Stratford Town Trust and Orbit Housing. Since mid-2014, Stratford Time Bank has been an independent community organisation based in Stratford-upon-Avon and run by local people. Thanks to a grant from Orbit Housing, Sarah Coxall, the part-time Time Broker, organises the Time Bank and develops is activities across Stratford-on-Avon district.
How it works
Anyone aged 18 or over can apply to become a member of Stratford Time Bank. You can apply online or you can send us your name, address and phone number by e-mail or in writing (see the bottom of this page for the addresses).
Every applicant is interviewed by the timebroker to see what they can offer and how they might benefit. Everyone is also asked to provide references – and if you are offering to work with vulnerable people we may need a police check. Details go on our secure Time Bank database.
You can post offers of help or requests for assistance direct on the Stratford Time Bank computer system, where other members of the Time Bank can see them and respond.
Or you can ask the Time Broker to help you find a contact. (People who do not use or have access to a computer can get help by phoning the Time Broker.) She will take the details and search through the Time Bank’s database for the most appropriate person to provide help.
The computer system records the time credits earned and spent. Members can also donate credits to friends or to Stratford Time Bank’s Community Pot which can be drawn on to support those who have more needs but fewer opportunities to earn time credits.
What do participants do?
All sorts of things!
- Giving lifts or escorting to appointments
- Shopping or simple errands
- Decorating or simple home repairs
- Visiting people at home who can’t get out and about
- Gardening or housework
- Alternative therapies, such as massage
- Simple car and cycle repairs
- Walking the dog when you can’t do it yourself
- Teaching a musical instrument – or knitting – or using a computer
- Helping with community activities
Stratford Time Bank’s computer system holds over a hundred standard types of help – but there’s always scope for something new and different!
We also run a befriending scheme which puts one person in touch with another person with whom they might get along. Initial contacts tend to be by phone, but people involved in the scheme have gone on to meet for coffee, visit each other and go on days out together!
What could you offer? What help might you need?
Who can join?
Everyone is welcome in Stratford Time Bank because everyone has something to offer – and we all need some help from time to time. Age, finance or disability are no bars to joining – or to being able to give and receive help. There’s more information about joining Stratford Time Bank here.
Or get in touch with Stratford Time Bank: e-mail email@example.com, phone us on 07419 373680 or write to Stratford Time Bank, c/o 108 Shipston Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 7LR.