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

Time Credits are a rewarding way to make new connections, use your existing skills or develop new ones whilst helping an organisation. Through Time Credits, people are encouraged to get involved in their community. Anyone can volunteer and offer their time and skills to organisations involved in the Time Credits Network. For example people help children read in schools, offer companionship for older people or take part in a local litter pick. Tempo Time

Credits earned by giving time can be redeemed on a wide range of services and activities with our recognition partners, for example at local leisure centres and cinemas or at some large venues such as the Tower of London. 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.

Find out where you can earn and use Time Credits (Tempo Time Credits website).

Impact of earning and using Tempo Time Credits on individuals

The impact - 84% reported improved quality of life, 50% of people had never given time before earning Tempo Time Credits, 50% feel able to contribute to the community and other people, 39% can afford to do more thngs, 62% have developed new friends and opportunities, 55% shared their skills with others, 25% report improved mental health and 43% feel more confident

Read about how Time Credits members benefit from the scheme

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.

Smiles, laughter, and camaraderie. Three words that perfectly describe the experience enjoyed by 38 people who had an unforgettable holiday at Grafham Water Centre.

Volunteers from Huntingdon Town Council, Huntingdon Community Action Project (HCAP), Oxmoor Christian Fellowship and Diamond Hampers spent three days at Grafham Water Centre with their children. During the summer holiday they enjoyed the glamping experience and took part in outdoor learning activities. An exciting summer holiday that not everyone could otherwise afford.

The holiday experience at Grafham Water Centre shows what organisations working in partnership can achieve and how volunteering can benefit individuals, families and communities.

Many volunteers give their time freely and generously week in week out in Huntingdon. They really make a difference in their local community. Volunteers Nina, Tina, Carol, Emma and others cook lunch every week for 50 older people at Coneygear Centre. Cerrianne helps out with Moody Mondays, a drop-in set up to support people with mental health issues. Toddy and Nina volunteer with Oxmoor Christian Fellowship and help Maria to run youth groups. Lianne coordinates a team of many volunteers at Diamond Hampers to provide hampers to local people in need. Others help with the running of the community library. Collectively they have given more than a thousand hours to their community, and they are truly incredible. They earn Tempo Time Credits as a thank you for their time through the Cambridgeshire Time Credits programme run by Cambridgeshire County Council. Tempo Time Credits enable volunteers to access a variety of activities in exchange of their credits.

Agnes Toth, Time Currencies officer at Cambridgeshire County Council spotted an opportunity to work closely with Christopher Sutton, Business Development Manager at Grafham Water Centre. Together they identified a suitable offer for the families of volunteers. Grafham Water Centre was able to offer access for the group to use their fantastic Bell Tent village for three days in exchange of over 500 Time Credits. Support was provided by Shilpa Desai-Sakaldip, Centre Manager at Coneygear Centre at Huntingdon Town Council, Tracey Holliday and Clare Payne from the Huntingdon Community Action Project (HCAP), Maria George from the Oxmoor Christian Fellowship, Jane and Tim Brook from Huntingdon Parish, and Steph Webb, Youth and Community Coordinator at Cambridgeshire County Council. Funding was secured for the group to pay for the extras. Godmanchester Food Bank provided food for the families, Huntingdon Rotary and Cromwell Rotary Clubs and a grant from the Police and Crime Commissioner Fund paid for outdoor learning activities such as raft building, paddle boarding and kayaking. Boxing Futures provided their own minibus to transport the families to the centre. A very generous act of support from various organisations to volunteers who do so much for their community and who truly deserve a family holiday.

Shilpa from the Coneygear Centre, who is on dinner duty getting hot dogs ready when we visited on the first day, was telling us all about the raft building activity they had that afternoon. She said “it was unbelievable to see all these children get involved and work together on the task. We have kids here with autism and other conditions, and this was really pushing them outside of their comfort zone, they did brilliantly, and their parent are so proud of them! Everyone had so much fun.” then she cheekily adds “…but of course it was our team who won”. And the banter starts amongst the group, and we can tell the competitive spirit has taken hold of everyone as they prepare for the evening’s multisport challenge. Tracey from HCAP said “It is fantastic to see all these children and their parents having a fantastic time. It is something that some would not be able to afford to do otherwise. This is such a treat for these families and the children are just having the time of their life!”

As we walk around the grounds and listen to happy children telling us how excited they are about sleeping in a tent for the first time in their life, watch families play table tennis together and Cerrianne put her 2 months old baby (the youngest camper on site) to sleep we know we are witnessing something truly wonderful here. As parents have a cuppa and enjoy the views of the setting sun over the bell tents, we feel blessed to be able to play a small part in making this wonderful experience happen. We see what a difference the Cambridgeshire Time Credits programme makes to people and their families.

Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee member - Councillor Tom Sanderson for Cambridgeshire County Council said:

“It’s absolutely fantastic to see what a difference the Cambridgeshire Time Credits programme makes to people and their families. These volunteers have made a crucial contribution to their communities and through the Tempo Time Credits are able to be rewarded for their generosity. I would urge anyone considering volunteering to look at our scheme and get involved.”

Overarching theme: Attracting new people to volunteering

  1. Older people
  2. Strengthening families and engaging children and young people in volunteering
  3. Tackling inequalities and supporting social mobility
  4. Tackling the climate crisis
  5. Wellbeing
  6. Local community action

Earn partner organisations

Examples of organisations involved in Cambridgeshire Time Credits programme include:

  • Charities
  • Children’s Centres
  • Community groups
  • Schools
  • Sheltered housing schemes
  • Town Councils

If your organisation would like to be considered to be part of the programme, please get in touch by emailing time.credits@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Recognition Partners- our business partners

We have a network of Recognition Partner businesses and organisations who accept Tempo Time Credits earned by volunteers, but we need more business and organisations in Cambridgeshire to join so we can support more fantastic local volunteers.

Many of our volunteers struggle with the cost of living and having opportunities that they can access with their credits is a great benefit to them and their family. Earning and using Time Credits has many benefits for the individual volunteers; from improved quality of life through feeling less lonely and isolated to being able to afford to do more things. Time Credits can have a real positive impact on people’s life

Can you become a Recognition Partner?

Working with Tempo Time Credits can drive footfall for your business, increase your corporate social responsibilities, and give back to the people in your community who selflessly give their time to support organisations that need them the most.

Current network partners (Tempo Time Credits website) see increased spend at their venues as over a third of volunteers take a friend with them and half of the volunteers return after their first visit!

What can you offer?

We work with each business to design a bespoke package based on their needs and how much they can offer. There are no fees, subscriptions or hidden costs. Any organisation and business is welcome to get involved and give only what they can – whether that’s a few haircuts a year, spare tickets to a local event, fruit and vegetable baskets, room hire for a child’s birthday party or some coffee vouchers. We appreciate everything you can offer.

Please support Cambridgeshire volunteers through your business and get in touch by emailing time.credits@cambridgeshire.gov.uk to discuss you offer.

Contacts