Support for a TimeBank

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Lyttelton TimeBank member Annelise Hall, centre, uses workshop participants to shows how community needs and wants can be easily matched with the TimeBank concept.

By Mick Jensen

The concept of TimeBanks has been explained and explored and a Mid Canterbury TimeBank will be set up over the coming months.

The concept trades time rather than money and works on the premise that everyone in the community has something to offer and every person is equally valued.

An enthusiastic gathering turned out for a recent Ashburton workshop and 42 people have signed up to be members of a Mid Canterbury TimeBank.

Of those, 26 have offered to help get it started and some have already met to look at a governance structure, membership support, technology and other areas.

Ashburton teacher Kate White organised the TimeBank workshop and said the community turnout was very pleasing.

“It’s fantastic that it’s not just a small group who want to see this happen. Many can see the benefits for themselves and the wider community and are willing to be involved.”

The timeline for a launch depended on trustees and how long it took to get together founding documents and policies and procedures, but it was hoped to have it up and running in September or October, said Mrs White.

Speaking at the workshop were two members from LytteltonTimeBank, the first group to be established in New Zealand.

Former group co-ordinator Julie Lee said Lyttelton TimeBank’s profile had risen in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes, with members rallying round to extend support to others in the community.

She said there were between 23-25 clubs nationwide, as well as clubs pending in Ashburton and Waimakariri.

She quoted from TimeBank founder Edgar Cahn who said, “We have what we need, if we use what we have.”

Fellow TimeBank member Annelise Hall said the concept had been a bit “out there” for some in the beginning, but word had spread and groups had been built one person at a time.

Mrs Hall said communities had pulled together and pitched in more in the past than they did today, but TimeBanks were helping to re-instate those fragmented communities and restoring core values of compassion, decency and kindness.

“People are sometimes hesitant to ask for help, even for the simplest of things. The great thing with the TimeBank is that it brings people together and encourages more social connection.”

The next TimeBank workshop will be held on June 25 at Community House Mid Canterbury and runs between 5pm and 6pm.

For any questions and registration contact Kate White at midcanterburytimebank@gmail.com.