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Cambridgeshire's Time Credits volunteers clock up #50,000 hours

Over 1,700 Time Credit volunteers have given #50,000 hours – which equates to five years and eight months – since the scheme launched in 2014 to helping older people, children and young people and community organisations across Cambridgeshire. Read some of the volunteers stories below.

Re-Useful, March

One of our earn organisations Re-Useful explains how much of a difference the scheme has made to their volunteers.

“Throughout my time working with time credits, I cannot express how much of a difference the scheme has made to our volunteers.  Many of them are on low incomes and volunteer with us to gain work experience.  By offering time credits, we are able encourage volunteering and time spent with us helps to lay foundations of a work ethic."

“It has been lovely to hear stories of how they have spent their time credits, done things they would normally not have been able to afford and how marvellous they feel when they redeem them or give them to friends and family.  They have a true pride in the time they have spent volunteering, and can see the benefit not only mentally, but in real terms.  Many of them have forged friendships and spent credits  in activities together, which was a spin off we never expected – helping to reduce social isolation and encourage new activities.”

Kathy Ingram, Littleport and Ely Timebank

Kathy Ingram, who lives in Littleport, has given 112 hours to her community by going to coffee mornings and helping at one-off events. She has spent her time credits to travel with East Cambs Connect to attend activities in Ely.

“I enjoy going to the coffee mornings, it is a nice social event,” she said. “I have met some lovely people and I try to help out where possible. It has helped me a lot; I have learnt how to crochet and I have stated playing badminton at the leisure centre.”

Pam Harper, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf in Cambridge

Pam Harper earns time credits by speaking to groups about the work of Hearing Dogs for the Deaf and at fundraising events.

“I love the volunteering but I use the time credits on things that I probably wouldn’t spend money on,” she said. “I think they are a great incentive for anyone thinking about volunteering. On top of the pleasure of volunteering they give you an extra little reward that can be used to indulge oneself or given to others as gifts."

“My whole experience of volunteering for Hearing Dogs has opened up many new opportunities and I’ve found I can do things I never thought I’d be able to do, for example speaking in public. Since volunteering I have grown in confidence in many ways.”

Jade Hockie, St Ives Time Bank

Since Jade joined St Ives Time Bank in 2014, she has given her time in a variety of ways including helping many older members with computer and word processing issues, as well as making a huge variety of cakes for coffee mornings and events.

With the Time Credits she has earned, it has encouraged Jade to sign up to an Adult Education course in St Ives. “Time Credits are a great way of trying new things out at little to no cost, it has encouraged me to learn a new skill and sign up to learn Arabic. There is a great choice of places to spend your Time Credits, and I have treated friends too."

“I moved here around 3 years ago and have met lots of new people”.

Roxi Beldean, Ely Children's Centre

Roxi has been earning Time Credits at Ely Children's Centre since 2016 by volunteering at the wacky Wednesday sessions and has also supported other sessions. She was encouraged to apply for a Children’s Centre worker vacancy that came up and is now working in that role and has grown in confidence. She has spent her Time Credits in a variety of ways including taking her son and sister to the cinema.

She said: “It makes you think what you can do with them, where to go with your child, maybe to try different things that you haven’t tried before. I have to tried new things with my son, like visiting the museum in Ely.”

Along with offering new opportunities, Time Credits have helped volunteers like Roxi develop their skills and confidence.

“I have been able to gain knowledge and experience during my volunteering role that has in turn increased my confidence and has allowed me to feel capable to apply for work,” she added. “Time Credits has given me an incentive to feel valued within my volunteering role at the Children’s Centre”.

Glenda, Wisbech Community House

Glenda Storey, who came to know about Time Credits when she was homeless and in a hostel, has earned Time Credits when she volunteered to give her time to Wisbech Community House, which supports people to get back into work.

“When I started going to the Community House I was given the opportunity to volunteer and was again given Time Credits for my time,” she said. “I have been using them to go to the Light Cinema, Peckover House, Elgood's Garden, the College of West Anglia and swimming at New Vision.

“Without Time Credits I would not have been able to visit these places and enjoy the activities they have on offer.”

Denise, People and Animals in Wisbech

Denise volunteers for People and Animals in Wisbech. She volunteers at sessions at The Oasis Centre, The Orchards Primary School and the Queen Mary Centre.

Through volunteering she has met new people and has a bigger circle of friends where she feels supported, she now gets out of the house regularly.

Denise has spent her Time Credits on going to the cinema with friends, having her hair cut and coloured and her nails done at the College of West Anglia.  If she didn’t earn Time Credits she wouldn’t be able to afford to have these done, being able to go to CWA to have her hair done makes her feel more confident.

People and Animals are planning on a group spend trip to Kings Lynn to go ten pin bowling.

Ish Tannahill, Make do and Mend, Cambridge

Photo of Ish Tannahill

Ish Tannahill earns Time Credits by doing admin jobs at Make do and Mend, a mental health charity providing creative, empowering workshops, and at CHS House where she lives. In the past she has also run a LGBT history group and a creative writing session.

She starting earning them four years ago and spends them on a variety of ways including a bike maintenance course with Outspoken Cycles, the cinema and swimming.

Thanks to volunteering, it has helped her get into work and boosted her confidence.

“It’s really helpful,” she said. “It’s helped me grow as a person and helped me realise actually yes I can do what I thought I could never ever do and that was volunteer and work.

“Earning Time Credits is a really good incentive to keep you going and keep you growing as a person. You have your own choice and you can do what you want to do and you can make it your own when you’re volunteering, I think it’s a great thing.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Time Credits scheme, please visit our Time Credits page for further information.

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