By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead
CHRISTMAS is a great time for giving and as we approach the New Year, a time for reflection.
It is also an opportunity to think about joining the Torbay Together Timebank – one of the few places where what you give is guaranteed a return. What a start to the year. What a New Year’s resolution!
For every hour invested through the Timebank – helping other people in any way that you can, you can call on others to help you in a myriad of different ways.
Across the Bay, there are now 425 members of the timebank all helping each other to do the jobs and tasks that they either can’t do or would prefer not to. People are working for each other, others are sharing skills and knowledge, and some are simply supporting each other.
It might be the smallest of things – weeding the path, help with shopping, walking the dog, setting up the computer, being driven to the doctors or the hospital or doing those fiddly DIY jobs around the home, the list is endless.
And the best bit? It doesn’t cost either party a penny. Instead being a good neighbour is rewarded in credits. One hour of sharing skills or helping others is rewarded by giving that person a one-hour time credit.
No matter what skill is given or received, they are all equal – all measured in hourly credits and the great thing is that whatever you give they are put to best use by someone who really needs them and appreciates them.
To get an idea of the scale of the goodwill and good neighbourliness already being exchanged in Torquay, Paignton and Brixham consider the number of hours that have already been swapped – 11,048 of them.
Put another way, 11,048 hours (and counting) equates to 460 days or one year and nearly three months. All for free. No money changes hands but everyone benefits.
Maggie Huxley who lives in Preston is a regular volunteer at the Lounge in Fleet Walk where every Friday she helps run a karaoke session between 2 and 4pm for which she receives credits that she is then able to spend as she wishes.
“It is the best thing I ever did joining the timebank, because I live on my own and there are things I simply cannot do – some because of my age, some because I am only five foot nothing,” she enthuses.
When her lawn mower started playing up, she used her credits to keep her grass under control with the help of a fellow gardener and when she needed pictures putting up in her home (she doesn’t own a drill) a timebanker was on hand to do the honours.
She has also received help with IT setting up her phone and iPad and when disaster struck and she thought she had lost previous pictures and videos of her grandson, help was at hand and they now sit safely in the cloud.
“Being involved has really put my mind at rest, I am getting on a bit, but I know that if I need help, then it is at hand. It is marvellous,” she added.
Fellow resident of Preston, Teresa Panizzi is also fulsome in her praise for the scheme: “It is a fantastic idea, in Preston get together every week, so friendships are made and the timebank makes sure we all have the support that we need.”
In her own words, “you can make a difference” and she has proved the point with calls to lonely people, whose only voice they may hear for periods of time is hers.
She has also been a regular visitor to someone in a residential nursing home: “No-one was visiting him and he appreciated the opportunity to just sit and chat and reminisce about his life, his cars and his younger days. I enjoy it and he enjoys it.”
For each hour spent ‘chatting’ Teresa puts credits in the Timebank and uses them to get around (she doesn’t drive) and has had a vinyl floor laid as well as had some weeding done.
“It is so satisfying; you get to mix with other people who also get something out of giving back to their communities.”
And that, in a nutshell, is it – giving back, being a good neighbour, performing a kindness, helping others.
If you want to know more – go to; www.torbaytogether.org.uk, contact your Ageing Well Torbay community builder or give us a call on 01803 212638. Unless you can think of a better New Year’s resolution?