Friday, 26 September 2008

Help bring about change an hour at a time

Do you have an hour to spare and skills that can be used to help others?

If so, why not share your time and talents with members of your own community by becoming a member of a Time Bank.

The Time Bank initiative is managed by the Lancaster District 50 Forward Project and is a way of sharing skills with neighbours and local residents, one hour at a time.

Whether you’re a genius in the garden, a dab hand at DIY, superb at sewing or knitting or can offer to do someone’s shopping or exercise their dog, by putting an hour of your time into a time bank you can get an hour of someone else’s time and skills in return.

Time Banks are already proving a huge success in Hornby, Caton and Brookhouse.

"I find time banks very helpful and friendly and have used them on several occasions," says Thelma Bennett, a Member of Hornby Time Bank. "I don’t have a car so I was able to find someone who could take me to a hospital appointment.

"Another time I needed help setting up my new computer. Someone from a time bank came to help me sort it. I've also had help with my garden."

Other Time Banks are going live on the 2 October, 2008 at Stanley's community centre in the West End of Morecambe and Lancaster and Morecambe College.

Lancaster and Morecambe College are launching their time bank by teaming up with Stanley's to help paint the centre and assisting with many other activities that follow.

Time Banks are free to join and for reassurance, all new members are required to submit two references and, for certain activities, their details for CRB clearance.

Information of what skills they can offer others and the skills they might be looking for in return are recorded on a computer so that members can be put in touch with each other.

There’s no need to make any long term commitments, it’s flexible to suit you and your needs and if you don’t wish to take back time from the bank you can simply donate your hours to be used by less able members of your community.

Coun John Barnes, Lancaster City Council’s representative on the 50 Forward Project Board said: "This is a fantastic way for anyone with time on their hands to give something back to their community. Time Banks bring communities closer together and make people feel valued and included.”

• If you live in any of the above areas and have the time to become a member of a Time Bank contact the Lancaster District 50 Forward Team on 01524 389581, by email to Collingwood.m@btconnect.com or by writing to Lancaster District 50 Forward, 6-4-1 Alston House, White Cross, Lancaster. LA1 4XF

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