Paxton Green Time Bank is a timebanking organization that started in 2008 and delivers their outreach and development programmes in Lambeth and Southwark. A timebank is a place where people come to help others while gaining credit they can use to help themselves. The members can exchange skills, services, assets or resources. The model aims to improve health and wellbeing, build connected communities, and foster trust and reciprocity in the boroughs. Everyone’s time is valued equally and one hour is equal to one credit to use at the time bank.
Since their formation they’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback from people who have benefitted from timebanking; membership has steadily increased and now stands at 590 individuals and over 120 organisations. The development manager at Paxton Green Time Bank, Alison, was kind enough to answer some of our questions about the impact of Paxton Green Time Bank on the community.
Why would you say you as a small charity make a big difference for the individuals and/ or communities you support?
As a small charity, and as a coproduction project, we are led by our members/participants, who decide on activities and projects they want to run with our support. As such, members define their own outcomes and objectives and so also get the biggest benefit. Being very much ‘on the ground’ means we are easy to approach and very visible in our community. Timebanking recognises people as assets and gives communities the freedom to celebrate the positives rather than constantly have to sell themselves as ‘needs’ to get attention or support.
How does your support differ from larger organisations/ public services? Would you say larger organisations have the same impact?
We’re able to support individuals on a one to one basis and more intensively than some larger charities may be able to. I think larger charities have a massive impact, but it varies enormously depending on which area of benefit they are working in and what type of charity they may be. There is a place for both large and smaller charities, large ones are great at campaigning, but smaller ones can be much better at community development type support.
What are you most proud of as an organisation?
We are very proud to be entering our tenth year of timebanking in Lambeth and Southwark in 2018. In the past year we have supported our members to exchange over 4000 hours of community time and skills. As an organisation we are very proud of our members; who are our biggest asset, and who amaze us every day with their skills, ideas and enthusiasm.
Katherine & Ella’s story
Alison provided us with a lovely example of how timebanking benefits the community by sharing the story of two of its members, Katherine* and Ella*. Katherine and Ella met through the time bank. Katherine is elderly and housebound, she joined PGTB to be part of something and to feel useful again. Ella is younger, mobile and her native language is Spanish. She joined PGTB because she wanted to improve her confidence in speaking English to help her find more fulfilling work and make English speaking friends. Both Katherine and Ella had a desire to feel more connected to others. After being matched up through PGTB Katherine and Ella have become great friends. Katherine continues to help Ella with her English and it has improved tremendously. Ella has brought the outside world to Katherine. They share benefits advice, cooking ideas, and teach each other about their cultures. They both agree PGTB has changed their lives for the better.
*Names have been changed