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Time Banking: Time Well Spent

May 24, 2018

Sooterkin™ and I recently enjoyed a fabulous meal for my birthday/our decadaversary (10 years legally spliced, good grief!) at a local restaurant called Parlez, courtesy of a prize I won in a raffle at the Rushey Green Timebank (RGTB).

RGTB logoI have blogged about my time-banking before and am shocked to realise I’ve been involved for over seven years now.  Seriously, where does time go?  Is it under the bed?  Do I sleep for days without realising (certainly doesn’t feel like it)? WHAT WEIRD MAGICKS IS THIS?!  (Also, you will note that I am a big fan of the pun and the alliteration and make no apology for this – I have little wit enough to deny myself those pleasures).

I do not believe I have mentioned the involvement of Lewisham Local in the time-banking project before, as if you needed further incentive to get involved in the time-banking scheme, local resident readers of this blog.  Other time-banking groups do exist so please have a google (or other search engine of choice) and sign up.

Lewisham Local logoLewisham Local is a charity which supports the residents of and visitors to Lewisham Borough in whatever way they are able through connecting potential volunteers with charities matching their abilities, and through supporting local businesses who give discounts to volunteers and gain loyal customers as a result (3,000 business involved at last count).  Parlez is one such business, and it is my involvement in the RGTB that enabled me to support my local restaurant and enjoy a fabulous date with my darling (I did warn you about alliteration).

There is a warm feeling of satisfaction and self-worth that comes from volunteering.  I offer my legal skills in advising those who can’t afford to have a professional Will drawn up or to consult a solicitor in dealing with the estate of a newly-departed loved one.  RGTB is very careful not to tread on the earning toes of professionals, however, and I cannot draft actual Wills, but can check those already drafted and advise on wording and the impact of what their expressed wishes may be.  My firm offers 50% discounts to those who decide they do wish to employ me, but few do and nor would I expect them to.  This is a very poor borough and I want to do my bit to make sure that those who cannot afford it still have the legal protection and advice available to them; I’m very happy to say my firm supports me in this.

There are so many other volunteering skills that can be offered though.  That’s the beauty of Time Bank.  You may not think you have anything to offer; I didn’t, but my Wills service is one of the more popular services offered on our open days (I am told, I still find it a bit hard to believe).  There are people who offer bike repairs and lessons in how to repair, computer and IT skills, sewing lessons and offers to mend clothing (I have taken advantage of this), there is the Wildcat Wilderness Garden in Catford which has volunteering days and offers myriad opportunities to the local community at open days and for school visits, there are people who volunteer to change lightbulbs and put up shelves, there are those who help tidy the houses of the elderly and immobile, there are volunteer gardeners who will tidy and teach how to tidy yourself, people who will drive others to hospital or doctor’s appointments and accompany them if need be, even something like volunteering to read to a person who is homebound or simply spend time with them; you name it, there will be a voluntary position available for you to do it.  If you think you have nothing to offer, I can tell you right now you are wrong.

It is a simple exchange of time.  You spend an hour volunteering and you receive an hour of help.

For me, though, it is so much more than that.  It is a chance to support my local community, to know the people and mix with those who I may never get to meet otherwise.  Oh, the conversations I have had with elderly members of our community – the naughty minxes!  It is a chance to give and to learn how to receive.  It helps me move past the prejudices of society to become a productive member in ways that are not simply listed in an accounts ledger.

RGTB-me

Me, volunteering at RGTB.

I feel valued and valuable to my community and I know that every single member of RGTB feels the same way.  Not better than anyone else, nor worse, but as valuable as any other human being is.  We are all simply members of our local community who want to give and may need to receive and are happy to use our time in this way.  It doesn’t matter the level of our ability, there is something that we can offer, including allowing others to help us!

Please consider joining a similar organisation in your area.  If there isn’t one, why not start one?  Time is one thing that we all have an equal amount of to spend, and none of us know when that particular account may run out of funds so why not get onto spending it now?  You won’t be sorry.  I promise!

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