Timebanking in Littleport

Before I tell you of our events and projects it is undoubtedly best if I tell you about being a Timebank member. It is probably easiest to imagine a circle of friends where each friend has either a talent or some spare time.

From there further imagine you need a small fence that needs a coat of preserver and that one friend offers to do it. That friend earns a “Time Credit” which has no expiry date but can be used at any time to request some sort of talent/task from any other member of the “friends”.

Now imagine that circle of friends being somewhat larger (over a hundred in Littleport) with a system that keeps count of your credits (administrated by the CHS group), requests for help or offers of assistance.

These exchanges vary from simply meeting for a chat (befriending) to helping to mow a lawn or paint a fence and many more things (including making Tea!) We have also taken part in organised events such as Litterpicks or marshalling for the Littleport 10K run.

The time credits can be used to pay for your exchange requests, at the Littleport Leisure Centre or exchanged to a more formal Token that can be spent in various ways with corporate members such as certain cinemas etc.

My personal experience with Timebank has been a strange journey for me. I have nearly always worked alone and am not really the social type. From that position I have hugely expanded my circle of friends and have found that by using my knowledge to help others I have also helped myself and it has opened doors that would have definitely remained shut otherwise. If you haven’t guessed already I totally recommend Timebank to everyone, from those who are a bit lonely to those of the genius persuasion.

We are fortunate enough to be able to hold an informal coffee morning at Adams Heritage Centre from 10am to around 11:30am on a Thursday morning. We do make note of who has attended, as just going earns you a time credit, and any exchanges done or requested.

We will also be trailing a similar evening meeting from 7pm to 8:30pm on the first Thursday of the month starting on 6th September, again at the Adams Heritage Centre.

This evening meet is intended to include those of us who work normal(ish) hours into the group and enable them to get the latest information on exchanges offered/required and any projects in the offing. I am looking forward to this startup event and hope we can increase the regularity of the evening sessions.

During our Timebank sessions some people stay throughout and others just pop in for a few minutes. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about Timebank can either drop in to one of our gatherings, have a tea/coffee, and we will be pleased to assist with any questions. Alternatively you can visit our facebook page and gain information from there.

Some of the members wanted to start art/craft sessions. After a trial or two we now have a regular craft group, once again at the Adams Heritage Centre, from 2pm to 4pm on the 1st 3rd Saturday of each month.

This is now well established and has worked on a number of projects that include lap blankets and fiddle muffs, the village red white and blue Pom-Pom bomb and the repainting of the village sign, in conjunction with the WI, some of the members were also involved in the recent “Button Tree” project that was organised by the Field Theatre Group.

The next craft group project, due to start in September, will enable some people to spend time credits, joining in, and will be a large community built mosaic for the Peacocks Meadow Community Garden, near Limes Close. The first two sessions will be used to enable people to make their own mosaic coaster to take home, which is again an opportunity to spend time credits even if you should not want to take part in the full project.

The follow-on sessions will then be used to build the Community Garden Mosaic. Earlier in the year we organised, along with the Field Theatre Group and Adams Heritage Centre, a Sparrow box build session.

This was well attended and there are now many more bird boxes than before. The three groups also held a splendid “Toad Shelter” build with many of the finished items finding homes in the Peacocks community Garden. We are hoping to run two more similar events later in the year. These will be “Bat Boxes” and “Hedgehog Hog Boxes”.

As you may expect, we have to make a small charge for the materials, which we usually source from Mike & Tina at the “Woodmakers “ yard in Camel Road.

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