What is a Time Bank?
A Time Bank deals with an alternative currency - time; not money. For every hour you spend helping someone, you are entitled to an hour's help in return. It's about neighbours helping neighbours. Help can be in many forms - performing practical tasks, befriending someone, running errands, sharing food grown in the garden, etc.
How does it work?
Each person's time "credits" are credited to their "account" in the Time Bank. People can then withdraw time from their account when they would like help with something themselves. These transactions are done via a co-ordinator / broker who keeps all the accounts and matches people who want help, with someone who can help them. When the task is complete, the accounts will have a record of the number of hours traded by each person.
Join our Communityommunity
Our Time Bank is a community of diverse people who can find a project or a space where they can spend time and share skills with others as they wish. Whilst the exchange of skills is a core aspect of time banking, our members are often in the time bank for the relationships and shared experiences of belonging, and feeling useful and valued in the projects and activities they partake in. By getting involved, our members help shape the ethos and values of the time bank.
“Time Bank...has added a richness to my life, friends, a community, a feeling of being of use
and all of the kindness out there."
Timebank Member: Patricia
Our vision is to achieve a cohesive community in the London Borough of Lewisham, where neighbours get to know and can rely on each other for help and support, and where people of different ages, cultures, backgrounds and abilities interact.
Why is it a Good Idea?
All tasks have equal value - an hour spent helping someone with computer skills is worth the same as an hour spent keeping an isolated person company, walking a dog, or helping someone fill in a form.
Everyone has something they enjoy doing and can offer.
Many people have time on their hands and want to contribute and be useful. They have skills and experience that go unrecognised and unrewarded. Time Banks value people, and their contributions, and encourage connections within communities and neighbourhoods. They alleviate isolation. As people start to help and get to know their neighbours, they rebuild a sense of trust, and start to feel that they are part of a community/neighbourhood again - they re-build community wealth, and health.
Organisations and community groups can also be members of a Time Bank. They can use Time Banks to trade skills, expertise, and additional hours of volunteer help when needed. Local authorities have used time credits to pay people to design and deliver local services. The Time Bank system is very flexible. People "in credit" can (if they would like to) donate their Time "money" to a friend, relative, neighbour - or to the Time Bank where it can then be given to someone who might need it.
Time Banks often involve people who would not normally volunteer - e.g. a housebound elderly person. In this system such a person could offer help by (for example) making regular phone calls to befriend someone in a similar situation. In the Time Bank system everyone is equal - everyone is both a giver and a receiver.