October 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Simple acts of kindness, small problems sorted out and a helping hand can really make a difference to people’s lives.
A new community initiative is aimed at just that... getting people to help each other.
Individuals can register for Time Bank, which has been launched in Uttlesford, and then offer skills and time to help others. In return they receive any help or support they need, or they can learn new skills.
Pat Lodge, of the Uttlesford Volunteer Centre, which is running the scheme in partnership with the Council for Voluntary Services (CVSU), said: “The people of Uttlesford are very generous with their time. We dealt with about 400 volunteers last year.
“Time Bank fills the gap – the small neighbourly acts between two people, rather than through an organisation. Virtually everybody can give a little and we would encourage people to see what they can do, no matter how big or small.”
The scheme is open to all community groups and individuals.
The time is valued equally – one hour work equals one time credit – and the credits can be spent on anything from the ‘bank’ of skills available.
Volunteers who don’t need help can put their ‘hours’ back into the community pot – either with the UVC or other organisation which can be used elsewhere. They can use their hours as they like.
With over 300 Time Banks across the country, members can also donate their credits to other parts of the country.
The initiative has proved hugely successful elsewhere. Colchester has been running a pilot for two years and will advise Uttlesford as the project develops.
Organisers will carry out risk assessments for each client to ensure safety, and it is a simple process to register. Mrs Lodge explained that the concept is not a long-term solution but “a boost” to those who need it.
“We have people desperate to volunteer and Time Bank could be ideal for them,” she said.
For example, one person has offered to groom cats, another is keen to offer her gluten-free cookery service.
“It could be people shopping for a prescription for someone, and we’ve got lots of requests for gardening.
“If you know someone who needs help then come and tell us.”
Kirsty Monk, of the CVSU, said: “We are lucky that in Uttlesford so many people are willing to help their communities. Time Bank will build on what’s already happening in the district, creating a sense of community through local people who give and receive support and services from each other, enabling people from different backgrounds, who may not otherwise meet, to come together and form connections and friendships in their area.”
• To register or for more information, call the UVC on 01799 513626 or email firstname.lastname@example.org OR the CVSU on 01371 878400 or email@example.com.