Cambridgeshire Time Credits have been running in areas across Cambridgeshire since 2014. Cambridgeshire County Council and Clarion Housing work in partnership with Tempo, a social enterprise, to fund the programme.
How they work
Through Time Credits, people are encouraged to get involved in their community. Anyone can volunteer and offer skills to organisations involved in the Time Credit Network. For every hour a person gives to their community they could earn one printed Time Credit. For example they can help children read in schools or offer companionship for older people. They can then spend the Time Credits on an hour’s activity in other community organisations or in local businesses. Some large venues such as St. Paul’s or the Tower of London also accept Time Credits. People can also share them with friends and family or use them to thank others in turn.
Time Credits help to strengthen and build strong connected communities. It encourages volunteering across all age groups. It also enables people to give time to their communities in a wide range of ways. Time Credits create opportunities for communities to share assets and skills and work together in exciting ways.
Meet our Time Credit Members
Find out more about how our Time Credit members earn and spend their Time Credits in Cambridgeshire. Meet these volunteers and read about their stories.
“With Time Credits I can do things with the kids that we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise”
Kelly is a single mum with two children. Her 5 and 3 year old are playing with their friends in the background at Thursdays Together run by the Kings Hedges Family Support Project (KHFSP) in Cambridge. Kelly has been coming to these sessions for about 20 years when she was a child herself. Since then she became a mum and continued to attend the weekly drop ins where children can play and parents can talk and share experiences, along with an opportunity to talk to Family Support Workers in a safe and comfortable space.
“I’ve known Kelly since she was a child”, says Julie Wilson, a retired Nursery Nurse who now also volunteers with the Project. “She came to the playgroup as a child, then came back as a mum with her two children and now she volunteers with us too. It’s been amazing to see how she’s grown in confidence since she started volunteering. I think it gives her purpose”.
Kelly started to volunteer with KHFSP a few months ago. She comes to Thursdays Together every week. She likes the atmosphere and has many friends. Seems like everyone knows Kelly here. “She’s so helpful and friendly. If people are new to the group she talks to them and makes them feel welcome. And not only that! She’s also a brilliant parent”, says Julie.
She volunteers to manage the story sacks which are packed with resources from books to puppets, masks to wooden figures that can be borrowed by families to share stories with their little ones at home. Kelly enjoys this volunteering role which she can do with her little one. “The sacks are great, they really help you with ideas about what to do at home with the kids. I met lots of people through talking to the new parents who join the group. I enjoy the administration of who is borrowing what. I’m used to it as I do my little tables and charts at home as well. I’m a single mum so money is short and I’m always budgeting at home”.
Kelly saves up her Time Credits for the school holidays and spends them with the kids. They go to the cinema or she takes them swimming to the pool. Things they wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. If she has enough Time Credits she also takes her friend and her kids with them as they wouldn’t be able to pay to go to the movies. She says “With Time Credits I can do things with the kids that we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise”. The kids used to nag me to go to the movies, but I wasn’t able to treat them to a film. Now I feels really happy to be able to do that”. She recently also rented a room in a community centre with her Time Credits to hold a big birthday party. Something she wouldn’t have been able to afford without Time Credits.
Josephine Hunt, Project Manager at KHFSP said “Kelly has responsibility in the group and we trust her to do a good job as a volunteer - this means that we've seen her grow a lot in confidence. It is wonderful to know the family now have the opportunity to do fun things together as a result of being a volunteer with us. We're proud and thankful to have her as a volunteer and to be able to give her Time Credits as a thank you”.
Maria has been a member of Cambourne Timebank since October 2017, she joined when her second child was 1 month old. She earned Time Credits by taking her baby with her to visit Janet, an older member in her community. Maria has helped Janet with her computer and smartphone, so Janet can send and receive emails to help her keep in touch with friends and family. Janet is 86 and lives on her own. She has reduced mobility and doesn’t get out as much since having two strokes, so she likes to have visitors and appreciates Maria and her baby popping by. Maria was happy to keep her tech skills alive while on Maternity Leave. Maria has also been to Cavendish Court retirement home and joined the residents for their coffee morning with her baby and toddler. The older ladies loved holding the little baby and playing with the toddler.
Maria spent her Time Credits on the Social Venture weekend at the Cambridge Judge Business School. She developed her business idea and also took her kids swimming at Better Leisure Parkside pool in Cambridge. She has done a confidence course with Illuminate. She has recently launched her own business selling wooden children’s toys. Now it’s up and running she has lots more questions she wants to ask. So she’s booked on another Social Venture weekend with Time Credits to get more advice from the experts. Maria is from Spain and she has enjoyed the social activities in the Timebank. She attended coffee mornings and has made new friends locally. She doesn’t feel as isolated as she would be sitting home alone. She encouraged Janet to come to the coffee morning too.
Maria has also benefitted from the help of another Timebank member who helped her build a website for her new business.
Time Credits programme priorities
- Older people
- Strengthening families
- Skills and employment
- Tackling poverty
- Attracting new people to volunteering
Time Credits areas
- Cambridge City North and East
- St Neots
Examples of organisations involved in Cambridgeshire Time Credit programme include:
- Children’s Centres
- Community groups
- Sheltered housing schemes
If your organisation is active in a Time Credits area and would like to be considered to be part of the programme, please get in touch via the email address below