As a member of Stratford Time Bank, you can request help or offer services. For those with access to a computer, these can be done online; alternatively, requests or offers can be phoned to the Time Broker, who will use the computer system to manage them.
You don’t have to earn time credits before you can ask for help! New members are automatically given 5 hours of time to get them going, so you can ask for help from day one. And you don’t need to have hours banked in order to ask for help: we have a special Community Pot which funds help for people who need it now but may not have many opportunities to offer help to others.
- Be as clear as you can about what you need, including where, when, the time likely to be involved, and whether or not tools or materials are needed.
- If you would like the helper to bring some form of identification with them, let the Time Bank know in advance.
- Whether the exchange is arranged through the Time Broker or online, you should make a note of the date and time planned for the help. When the Time Bank helper arrives, feel free to ask for identification if you’ve said in advance that you would like to see identification. (For initial exchanges, the Time Broker will usually aim to come as well to meet you both and check arrangements.)
- If materials are needed for the task, agree who will provide them with your helper. Be prepared to reimburse your helper for any materials they have had to buy to carry out the service – for example, paint for decorating.
- Once the exchange has been completed, check that all is well and agree the time taken with the helper. Arrange between you for one of you to record the time: you can phone the Time Bank to provide details or complete online.
- When you agree to help another member of Stratford Time Bank, make a note of the date, time and place for the exchange.
- Aim to find out in advance what help is actually required, how long it is likely to take, and whether you will need tools and materials.
- Make sure you know if you need to take some form of identification with you.
- If you have any worries about what you are being asked to do – DON’T DO IT! Contact the Time Bank if you want advice.
- Once the exchange has been completed, check the person you’ve been helping is happy and agree with them the time taken on the task. Arrange between you for one of you to record the time: you can phone the Time Bank to provide details or complete online.
Whether you are asking for help or giving it, it’s important to take care and to deal promptly with any problems that arise. The Time Bank’s Handbook has more information about this. Contact the Time Broker if you want advice.
Keeping track of your account
If you manage your Stratford Time Bank personal account online, then you will see what time you have in your account and you can easily obtain a full statement of help provided and help received.
Don’t worry if you receive more help than you provide. You will have opportunities to provide help to others later. If you think that you might not be able to provide much help – for example, because of a health problem – contact Stratford Time Bank to find out more about our Community Pot which helps people in this type of position.
And if you are building up a large surplus of hours in your account, you can give some of them to the Time Bank’s Community Pot.