Castlemilk Timebank – Helping people exchange skills and become more involved in their community
Key contact: Gloria Murray, Project Co-ordinator
Address: 121 Castlemilk Drive, G45 9UG, Glasgow
Telephone: 0141 631 1888
Web address: www.castlemilktimebank.btck.co.uk
In a nutshell
We aim to promote community involvement and to rebuild a sense of community spirit in Castlemilk, a large housing estate on the outskirts of Glasgow. We do this by helping people to exchange skills, services and support. One hour of your time will give you an hour of someone else’s. Essentially, our project turns spare time into shared time.
Castlemilk suffers from social and economic exclusion.
As both a cause and a symptom of exclusion, many residents suffer from
social isolation resulting from a lack of close ties or support within the
community. This isolation can have very negative effects on the confidence and self esteem of individuals, in particular on young people from vulnerable groups.
How we got started
Our work was started by the Castlemilk Economic Development Agency. They had heard of the approach that Timebanks take. They carried a feasibility study in 2001 that confirmed that the residents of Castlemilk wanted a Timebank to be set up.
A steering group - made up of people who live and work in the local area - was set up to be responsible for the project. And we appointed a project
co-ordinator who could oversee the work.
We started by piloting the project for three months. The pilot was a success and together with the Castlemilk Economic Development Agency, the steering group applied for funding from the Big Lottery – which was granted.
The Big Lottery has funded us since 2002 and we currently have funding until October 2013
Our management committee is now entirely made up of residents from Castlemilk. It is a project run by the community for the community.
What we do
Our Timebank is a way for people to share skills with each other. Everyone’s time is equal. One hour out of someone’s day is an hour, irrespective of the skills that you can offer.
First you earn your credits (in time) by volunteering your services. This can
include, walking someone’s dog, ironing, shopping and so on. You add up the time you have spent helping someone and can then exchange the time credits when you a need a service from someone else. As part of our work, we help individuals gain more skills, and this in turn increases our skills base. Special software is used to record the hours that people have volunteered and the hours they have taken back out again.
We provide support and a structure for people to play a fuller, more active part in their community – and this empowers our community.
As people offer their services, they start to feel more useful and more included in the community. In most instances, they make friends with those they help – and at the same time build on their confidence and sometimes gain new skills.
Confidence, self-esteem Skills building Bringing down barriers between different groups of the community, including those with health issues.
One great thing – Everyone has something to offer
We believe that everyone has something to offer. We ask people to volunteer their soft skills – meaning that there are no skills barriers to people participating in our project. This means that our work directly promotes and encourages social inclusion.
The skills that our members offer are varied. For example, someone might need help with decorating or form filling. In return, they might be shown how to carry out some of the tasks themselves. We concentrate on softer skills.
Being able to help others breeds confidence and this is one of our main outcomes.
Three years ago we started a new project where we work together with the Scottish Prison Service. Here, prisoners volunteer their time within the prison (such as tutoring or guitar tuition) and their families and others in the community then benefit from these hours.
On many occasions, we have seen that people who volunteer their time have not only helped others, but have formed lasting friendships.
It is possible to keep costs down by sharing resources, such as photocopiers and other office supplies with other organisations in Castlemilk.
It is important to keep evaluating your work and involving your members in this. We meet at least twice a year with our members. It gives us an opportunity to learn how our work is benefitting the community.
2007 Evening Times Community Spirit Award
2008 Queens Award for Voluntary Services