An innovative pilot scheme which encourages people to give the gift of time – and to get it back in return - is to be launched in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
"Time Banking is an excellent way for people to share their skills, support others in the community and receive help from members when they need it."
Equality and Diversity Assistant Joanne Hammersley
The Safer Communities CIC, with support from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, is leading the pioneering ‘Time Banking’ project.
The aim of the initiative is to create a database listing how people would be willing to help others in their area.
Volunteers can do simple things such as walking a dog, mowing a lawn or giving someone a lift to the hospital.
Members could then 'claim back' the time and utilise the skills and assistance of someone else on the 'Time Bank' when they need it.
The scheme, which is part of Time Banking UK, is free to join and is mutually beneficial for members.
It is also an ideal opportunity for people to strengthen their CV by developing a wide range of skills as well as giving something back to the community and meeting new people.
Anyone interested in joining the 'Time Bank' can find out more by attending one of two information events at Newcastle Community Fire Station on Knutton Lane.
The drop-in sessions will be held on Thursday, July 18 and Thursday, July 25 from 11am-1pm.
Equality and Diversity Assistant Joanne Hammersley said: "Time Banking is an excellent way for people to share their skills, support others in the community and receive help from members when they need it.
"It goes back to the concept of trading time and experience without the need for payment as happened many years ago. It will be a great way for people to spend a few hours, perhaps doing odd jobs such as gardening, cleaning or shopping, which would also boost their CV.
"This is a pioneering project and we are keen for as many people as possible, with a whole range of experience and willingness, to join when we launch the pilot. If it proves to be a success, we will be rolling out it across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent."
Elaine Edwards, who has been volunteering at events run by the Service for two years, was the first person to officially sign up to the pilot scheme.
She said: "I’ve always believed that you have to put something into life to get something out – what better way of doing this than by helping others within the community. It always feels good to help other people and enables individuals to grow in so many ways – confidence, experience, skills and sense of satisfaction. By cashing in time credits it allows others to grow in these areas too."
For more information on 'Time Banking' call 01785 898516 or email email@example.com