The Time Credits

10 April 2018 Posted by

The Time Credits model is very simple: for every hour that an individual gives to their community or service, they earn one ‘Time Credit’. People can spend Time Credits to access events, training and leisure activities provided by public, community and private organisations, or to thank others in turn. To date, over 35,000 people have earned almost half a million Time Credits across England and Wales. The Time Credits currency is a powerful tool for encouraging more active engagement in local services and community groups, and building an individual’s social or support network.

Embedding Time Credits in substance use and recovery services has been a successful development in both England and Wales.  The Time Credits are used as the catalyst for an asset based approach to support planning and service design, and enable the development of co-produced services where clients take an active rather than passive role.

How do Time Credits work?

 

There are a huge variety of skills, experience and resources in communities that can be forgotten or go unrecognised, and Time Credits believe taking these as a starting point for any service or activity can be the most effective way of tackling community challenges. Time Credits start by mapping local assets with local people and identifying what exists in communities that can be built on, developed or brought together in new ways. Time Credits build on people’s interests, skills and experiences, combined with local physical assets and resources, to develop and improve community and public services.

There are currently over 600 spend opportunities nationwide. These spend partnerships facilitate access to opportunities that are often inaccessible to vulnerable adults with complex conditions and often low incomes. This access stimulates habitual change and helps develop personal assets further. Many positive impacts from spending Time Credits come from engaging in health or wellbeing activity, or adult education opportunities. However another key impact, particularly where we work with more vulnerable and isolated individuals, is a reduction in anxiety and increased confidence and awareness of the community assets available to them.

 

Time Credits in Cornwall

 

Time Credits Cornwall is a joint project between CC Transformation Challenge Award that is now operational within the DAAT and community partner agencies. The project is managed by Beth Ward who has a base at both DAAT in Threemilestones and Job Centre Plus in Penzance, enabling her to split her time between the two areas. The partnership managers, Helen Smith and Kelly Taylor share the role of building the spend network, identifying potential partnerships from feedback received through workshops and discussions with our local groups and members.

A key aspect of the Time Credit programmes is creating a local Time Credits identity. Co-design sessions involving DAAT, local services and service users helped create a bespoke note, reflecting the local identity of Cornwall. The back of every note is the same so that individuals are able to spend their Time Credits across the national network of partners. This aspect of Time Credits enables participants to use Time Credits outside their own area, for trips or family outings, and feel part of a wider national cohort of Time Credits members.

Time Credits are excited to already be working with Addaction, YMCA Cornwall, Bosence Farm, Who Dares Works, Trengweath, Job Centre Plus and Homegroup and will be looking to develop further relationships and spend/earn opportunities with local groups and services as the project develops. A launch event for Time Credits at Homegroup is being held on April 20th at YMCA Cornwall. We plan to host a range of earn and spend opportunities, including an asset mapping session with volunteers and residents followed by circuit training sessions organised by local social enterprise, The Ark CIC.

Time Credits are initially focusing on Drug and Alcohol and Homelessness Services in Penzance but will be moving into other substance use services in Cornwall, and eventually into other thematic settings supporting vulnerable adults.

In addition to the implementation of Time Credits, Time Credits have a range of training and supporting resources that have been tried and tested in community and health and care settings, to enable organisations to develop and embed asset based ways of working. They will be facilitating training sessions starting in the next quarter, for staff, volunteers and community members in voluntary organisations, statutory services and community groups in Cornwall and you are invited to attend. Further details will be circulated by DAAT once dates have been confirmed.

If you wish to find out more, please feel free to get in touch:

Beth Ward | 07578181277 | bethanyward@justaddspice.org

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About the Author

Simon, Research & Information Officer, Amethyst, Community Safety Team

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