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Wellington Time Bank gathers people power

May 17th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

SEWING BEE: Time bankers Bryant Hardwick and Olivia Richardson at a Newtown Community centre stitch share. IMAGE: Wellington South Time Bank.

SINCE its launch in October last year, the Wellington South time bank has experienced rapid and steady growth.

This month, the bank made the 100 member mark.

The bank works on the proviso that members offer their time and skills to other members of the group and receive the time and services of others in return.

Wellington City Council currently funds the time bank coordinator salary for 20 hours per week.   City Councillor, Stephanie Cook says,

“Time banks are a brilliant initiative and I’d like to see others set up around Wellington.”

The current membership offers services such as gardening, cooking lessons, job search and IT help and sewing to name a few.

One participant makes environmentally friendly cleaning products and teaches others to make them.

Coordinator Hannah Mackintosh says there are some good stories about how the time bank is making lives easier.

“One member is a single parent in full time work.  She has no car and was having to pick up groceries daily in town.  Now another member takes her to the supermarket on a regular basis.

“Another member makes cards but had difficulty getting to the shop in Tawa where she likes to purchase her craft supplies.  Now she gets a ride there with another time bank member.”

The first time bank in New Zealand started in Lyttelton three years ago.  Project Lyttelton chair Margaret Jefferies discovered time banking while at a conference in New York and pulled together a team to pilot the Lyttelton Timebank.

The bank has provided a focal point and source of support for residents there since last year’s earthquakes.

The concept of time banking, also known as trade time, is the brain child of American lawyer Edgar Cahn.

He believed that social service organisations were failing to get help from the people they were trying to assist.

He called this a “deficit based approach” to social service, where organisations view the people they are trying to help only in terms of their needs.

This contrasts to an “asset based approach” which focuses on the contributions they can make towards their communities.

The concept of time banks is now well established in New Zealand and there are several operating across the country.

A software package called “Community Weaver” developed for time banks is used to track time credits in each exchange.

Coordinators in New Zealand meet via SKYPE on a monthly basis to share news and ideas.
People interested in knowing more about Wellington South Time bank can make contact by calling Hannah at the Newtown Community Centre, Mondays to Wednesdays 920 6708.

There is also a Facebook page named Wellington South Time Bank.


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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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