Southampton Timebank clocks up over 350 acts of kindness

Timebank volunteers have helped over 350 people in need in response to coronavirus pandemic

Since lockdown began, 40 of Southampton City Council’s Timebank volunteers have helped over 350 people in need in their communities. They’ve offered their time with shopping, helping to get medications and by being phone buddies for people unable to leave their homes or who are feeling isolated during lockdown.

This week (01-07 June 2020) is Volunteers’ Week, and now more than ever, millions of people across the UK have stepped up to help others by volunteering their time to help their communities.

Timebanking is an exchange of skills and experience that involves trading skills for someone else’s in order to get a job done. It is an exchange of time, an hour for an hour, to enable members to help each other.

Under usual circumstances, members would volunteer their time however they like, doing whatever they enjoy - from gardening to baking, and ironing to dog walking. However, like many organisations, in recent times the need has changed to more coronavirus-related volunteering roles and help those who are unable to leave their homes.

Timebank volunteer - AlexAlex, from Freemantle has been a member of Southampton Timebank since 2015 and thinks it’s a great way to support people: “I decided to join Timebank because I wanted to learn more about the local community and give something back. I came to Southampton for university and then stayed, so it’s my adopted home town. In recent months, Timebank has become a lifeline for people who need to self-isolate or with limited access to transport and other support networks. I’ve regularly been going shopping for people from all over the city and picking up prescriptions. I’m fortunate to have a car, so it’s easy for me to run these errands and keep safe. I think the best part of Timebanking though, is that anyone who needs help can ask for it without feeling guilty, because there are lots of volunteers more than happy to help. While I initially joined Timebank to help others, I know that it’s there for me too, should I need it.”

The benefits of Timebanking to an individual can be vast. It can help some of the most marginalised people feel a sense of self-worth or belonging. It can also help to build strong communities and social support networks, by bringing people together from different backgrounds, who may not otherwise meet. Generating social circles in this way can support health, wellbeing and resilience, all of which can stop medical needs arising.

Councillor Lorna Fielker, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Care at Southampton City Council, said “Our Timebank members are amongst the city’s many unsung heroes who have supported our communities in response to the coronavirus pandemic. There are many examples of members going the extra mile to help, whether it’s picking up shopping, befriending those who may be feeling lonely or isolated and also linking residents to various council services where appropriate. I’d like to say a very big thank you to every single person who has offered their time to help others, and I’d encourage anyone who can help to join Southampton Timebank. It really is a great opportunity to meet people, make friends and make a difference.”

For more information about Southampton Timebank contact Timebank@southampton.gov.uk or visit the Timebank website.

If you’d like to become a Timebank member, or are looking for a volunteering opportunity during the coronavirus pandemic, visit volunteering opportunities on SO:Linked.