The Buckinghamshire Time Credits programme, delivered in partnership with Buckinghamshire County Council, has come to an end. Time Credits will continue to be active in the county as part of a new ‘Work and Health’ programme delivered with Shaw Trust. We would like to share and celebrate some of the successes achieved by all those involved in Buckinghamshire Time Credits.
“As our Time Credits currency goes into its tenth year of operation, we mark the partnership with Buckinghamshire County Council and the development of Buckinghamshire Time Credits as one of the key milestones in the growth of the Time Credits Network, branching out from Wales and beginning work in England,” says Spice CEO Ian Merrill. “We look forward to building on our presence in Buckinghamshire alongside our new partners Shaw Trust.”
Since the first Buckinghamshire Time Credit was earned in the summer of 2014, over 50,000 of the Time Credit notes have been earned by more than 1000 people. The Bucks community have given their time in many different ways, from organising events and supporting adult learners, to befriending and running peer support groups.
“I’ve had lots of fun earning Time Credits at Workaid, and we’ve had lots of fun spending them on summer outings with family and friends,” says Rosa. “One of the benefits of the group using Time Credits is the feeling that my involvement as a volunteer is gaining some recognition, not just at the local level but also at a wider level of social activity.”
“I had no previous regular volunteering experience,” says Diane, who volunteers in an art class for adults with learning difficulties and disabilities. “Helping the learners is a very humbling experience and any problems I have seem minimal.”
Over the course of the programme, approximately 90 local groups and services have joined the network, using Time Credits to help attract and retain volunteers, as well as kick-starting new community activities in the area. One of the first groups to get involved in the network was Buckinghamshire Mind, which used Time Credits to strengthen their relationship with existing volunteers, and expand the offer in service user activity outings – in particular through a Time Credits befriending service.
In the 2017 evaluation of Time Credit programmes, 71% of individuals responding to the survey told us that participation in Bucks Time Credits had improved their quality of life, with over half saying that they visited or saw people more often, as well as feeling less isolated and lonely. 65% said that they could afford to do more things.
Much of this impact is down to the involvement of some fantastic local spend partners that have agreed to allow access to their services in exchange for Time Credits, including top local attractions Waddesdon Manor, ALF Longridge Adventure and Activity Centre, Better Leisure sports centres and Elgiva theatre.
Our Bucks Time Credits Project Manager, Deborah McLean-Thorne, picked out a couple of the Time Credits group spend trip highlights from the last four years:
- “At the first big spend trip to ALF Longridge adventure and activity centre situated on the banks of the Thames, networks from London came together with Bucks members for a great summer day out. All of them were trying things they probably wouldn’t normally try. There were lots of excited faces as members took on the Giant Swing, which sent people plummeting towards the ground, then swing up and over the river Thames. There were some pretty loud screams which must have been heard down and across the river!”
- “On a group spend trip to RAF Halton’s Trenchard Museum and Flight Centre, we toured the exhibits of life, training, aircraft and notable events in the station’s history. It brought such animation to everyone’s faces, and particularly made the older ones in our group reminisce. Many of those on the trip had discovered the facility for the first time.”
- “It’s always a delightful experience visiting the stunning Waddesdon Manor, but when a large group of Bucks members came along on a trip to the spectacular light and sound show and Christmas markets it made for one of the best trips we’d had.”
We’re pleased to say that spend partners in Buckinghamshire will accept the new Shaw Trust Time Credit, as well as the Buckinghamshire Time Credit note. As Time Credits are a national currency, volunteers are also able to exchange their Time Credits in London and throughout our national spend network.
If you are part of a Buckinghamshire group that was previously using Time Credits and would like to talk to us about continuation options, please contact Mark Caffrey