I am delighted to be writing to you as Spice’s new CEO. It’s an honour to be joining the largest time banking organisation in the UK, and I feel privileged to be in a position to shape our development going forward.
It’s an incredibly exciting time to be part of Spice. The charity is only eight years old, but has transitioned quickly from a start-up piloting a concept in South Wales to a respected organisation working in partnership with over 1200 organisations and service providers across 71 projects in five regions of England and Wales. The positive impact we create for communities has been independently recognised by leading bodies and figures such as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), NEF, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales and many others.
The numbers speak for themselves. So far, over 30,000 people have earned Time Credits and contributed over 500,000 hours of their time. Everyday our work is improving thousands of people’s lives and changing communities for the better – one hour at a time!
It’s also a critical time for initiatives like Spice and Time Credits – embedding a culture of collaboration and co-production within a testing climate, where the future of our health and community services looks increasingly uncertain. Models such as Time Credits, which bring together the skills and assets of the private, public and voluntary sectors, are vital if we are to meet the growing needs of our communities.
I joined Spice because I am passionate about helping people to get directly involved in tackling issues that affect them, building skills and opportunities along the way. I recently visited Cardiff, the first city to launch Time Credits city-wide, and which is now celebrating its 5th anniversary of participating in Time Credits. Speaking to partners and members, I saw how Time Credits really are creating “a quiet storm” , as local people with energy and vision use the currency as a tool to build local networks and stronger communities. As I visit other Spice projects for the first time, I’m seeing lots of evidence of the positive impact of our work.
At Spice, we have a long-term vision in which Time Credits are a part of all public services and everyday life, where everyone will carry a Time Credit in their wallet or purse – earned from contributing time to their local community, and spent accessing opportunities that build positive health and well-being. I look forward to working with the excellent Spice team, our Board of Trustees, and our committed partners, as we seek to achieve this.
Follow Ian on Twitter @IanMerrill17