Time Bank Models

 

Time banking is a tool for building community

– here are some examples of how organisations around the UK are using this tool. If you develop a new way of using this tool please let us know and we can add it to this list.

 

Person to Person Model (1 to 1 exchanges)

Theory
•    A mutual (open) credit system where credit only exists between individuals
•    Exchanges take place between individuals initially set up by a central hub
•    Facilitates acts of neighbourliness between individuals

Practice
•    Time bank often established as a project within a ‘host organisation’
•    When an individual joins the bank they are asked to list the skills they can share and the skills they would like to receive
•    Exchanges are co-ordinated and recorded by a broker
•    Type of exchanges is governed by skills available within the membership
•    Project is evaluated by number of time bank members, number of exchanges taking place

Factors for Success
•    Supportive host with organisation-wide understanding of time banking
•    Funding for a time bank broker and project manager
•    Core group of local supporters
•    Visible location (e.g. shop front)
•    Clear definition and understanding of project area (geographically & operationally)
•    Links to local community sector

Potential Problems
•    Need to avoid over-reliance on the broker by members when setting up exchanges and activities
•    Important to ensure that the time bank is embedded within the organisation and able to extend/ improve existing activities as well as developing new ones
•    Important to have sufficient resources to manage the administration of 1-to-1 exchanges

Examples from London
•    Rushey Green Time Bank: launched in 2000 this project is housed within a doctors surgery, although it is an independent registered charity.

Agency to Client Model (Specialist time banking)

Theory
•    A mutual (open) credit system, where credit exists between agency/ organisation and person
•    Activity is themed, based around specialist skills of agency leading the time bank
•    Time banking embedded within an existing organisation, vol or statutory

Practice
•    Members earn credits for active engagement in community activities
•    Type of activity undertaken is linked to the organisation running the time bank (e.g. Groundwork running environmental clean-ups)
•    Credits can be cashed in for rewards, which are decided by group
•    Rewards reinforce the theme of the activity and make it possible for future learning and activity
•    Rewards are themed to compliment focus of work (e.g. Groundwork’s focus on environmental work means that rewards might be a trip to Kew gardens).

Factors for success
•    Community group keen to develop greater community working
•    Organisation able to secure/ provide suitable rewards

Potential Problems
•    Having a single themed activity may reduce appeal of time bank to wide range of members
•    Focus and funding of time banking organisation may actively exclude certain community members
•    Organisations may encounter difficulties sourcing funding for ‘rewards’

Examples from London
•    Whittington Time Exchange: based within a school, children earn time credits for playground duty, helping with school events, looking after the buddy bench and the prayer room. Rewards can be cashed in for group trips e.g. XXX that are paid for in time credits
•    ‘Y’ Bank, Tower Hamlets:  This project works with young people who learn new skills and earn rewards when undertaking environmental clearances in their local area

Organisational Time Banking

Theory
•    A mutual (open) credit system where credit exists between agencies
•    Used to facilitate exchanges between organisations for mutual benefit and enhance use of scarce or under utilised resources

Practice
•    Time bank can be established within an existing ‘hub’ or to set up a new network of organisations (may be based around a geographical area or a specific skill/ activity)
•    When an organisation joins the bank they list the resources and services they have available and the type of help they would like to receive
•    Exchanges are recorded by a ‘broker’ or network co-ordinator
•    Type of exchanges is governed by what is available within the membership but likely to be both resources (e.g. an underused minibus) and skills (e.g. help with writing a funding proposal)

Factors for Success
•    Supportive network of organisations with understanding of time banking
•    Funding for a time bank co-ordinator, or lead organisation
•    Particularly useful when organisations have underused resources
•    Core group of local organisations with a variety of resources and needs
•    Strong local community sector with a history of working together previously

Potential Problems
•    Requires membership to be a range of organisations and resources in order to meet a variety of needs
•    All organisations need to give and receive
Examples from London
Poss Lewisham Community Development Partnership?

Institutional time banking

Theory
•    A mutual (open) credit system, where credit exists between agency/ organisation and person
•    Time bank is situated within an employment setting, with membership of the time bank open to employees, staff, students, etc
•    Activity may be themed around particular needs of agency leading the time bank or may be more focused on meeting personal needs of staff/ employees
•    Using time banking tool to create learning organisations

Practice
•    To develop a pool of staff who can recognise and develop a wider range of skills than those required directly for their job role
•    The time banking tool is a mechanism for creating ‘learning organisations’ by providing a framework that enables individuals to enhance their professional and personal development and build social and professional networks
•    A broker works with individuals and organisations to identify skills and resources that they have, and those they need access to or wish to develop for themselves

Factors for Success
•    A core group of individuals and organisations interested in becoming involved
•    Everyone involved must have something they need and something they can give

Potential Problems
•    important for staff to recognise and receive personal benefits to ensure the time bank doesn’t become a way to get more out of people
•    wide mix of skills and resources, possibly themed around specific outcomes e.g. personal development, training

Examples from London
Poss: Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery ‘Time and talent’ bank: Currently in development this project would use the time banking tool to develop a pool of people who can exchange expertise, extend and enhance the range and flexibility of programmes that the school can offer.

Agency to Client Model

Theory
•    A fiat (closed) credit system, with credits originating from the ‘bank’
•    Initial time audit establishes current level of active community involvement
•    Number of credits available is based in time audit and projections for future involvement

Practice
•    Members earn credits for active engagement in community activities
•    Credits can be cashed in for rewards
•    Rewards are themed to compliment focus of work (e.g. Groundwork’s focus on environmental work means that rewards might be exchanged for garden tools or a trip to Kew gardens).
•    The awards reinforce the theme of the activity and make it possible for future learning and activity
•    Aim is to look at community holistically, not to draw artificial distinctions between community and individual. Therefore a group engaged in communal environmental work would earn credits to be spent on own garden
•    Brochures and leaflets are created to advertise the rewards

Factors for success
•    Community group keen to develop greater community working
•    Organisations and individuals keen to complete active community audits
•    Necessary time and support time available for new groups when developing the approach

Potential Problems
•    Organisation may face difficulties in funding ‘rewards’
•    Project may initially face difficulties in expecting people to ‘pay’ with credits for activities that were previously free
•    Time credits can develop monetary value through comparison with rewards

Examples
Valleys Kids, Wales: focus on working with young people to enable them to earn credits from being engaged in generating community improvements through the ‘Give and Take’ club

Time Centre Model

Theory
•    A fiat (closed) credit system, with credits originating from the ‘bank’
•    The time banking tool addresses problems of under capacity and ensures that those people taking part are actively involved

Practice
•    The time bank is based within an existing community centre
•    Requires an initial time audit of centre and all activities that take place
•    Centre is able to introduce a dual finance system with people able to pay in time credits or cash for activities that they take part in (e.g. music concerts, theatre)
•    Community members are encouraged to earn time credits in a variety of ways including assisting with the running and management of existing activities or developing their own community building projects.
•    Value assigned to activities is based on number of hours they take (e.g. theatrical performance is 2 hours long so costs 2 credits)

Factors for success
•    This model helps to establish local community centres as true community resources
•    Can assist in building attendance for activities that are currently underused

Potential problems
•    Requires an existing community centre
•    Requires the buy in of existing community users (both individuals and projects)

Examples
Blangarw Workmen’s Hall: This community centre based in the Welsh valleys host a variety of weekly and one-off activities all of which can be paid for with cash or time credits.

Time Network Model

Theory
•    A fiat (closed) credit system, with credits originating from the ‘bank’
•    All local service providers, voluntary and statutory use time banking as their currency to recognise and reward community involvement

Practice
•    The time bank is based within an existing time centre but develops to incorporate service providers in the wider area
•    Requires an initial time audit
•    Creates local consistency so that local residents see their contribution valued in the same way no matter which activity or service they are interacting with

Factors for success
•    Time is required to embed the time banking tool with local service providers
•    A broad understanding and acceptance of the time banking principles, particularly of ‘give and take’ is necessary across all service providers

Potential problems
•    Important that the use of and accounting for time credits is standardized across all agencies otherwise consistency is threatened

Examples
Glyn Coch Communities First: This community centre based in the Welsh valleys is extending its time centre in order to link in with all local service providers.

 


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