TIMEBANKING – an initiative that gives volunteers time credits for every hour they give to people in need – is now available in West Cork.
Gary Hampton, one of the co-founders of hOUR Timebanking explained to The Southern Star that the service is ‘an exchange of skills and services in the community – and all it costs is time because no money changes hands.’
Mr Hampton said believes the initiative can ‘improve lives, bring communities together, encourage social inclusion and reduce loneliness because it is all about neighbours helping neighbours.’
Timebanking has been successful in the UK since it was first introduced in the late 1990s, but Clonakilty-based Gary Hampton confirmed that a meeting in DeBarra’s on Monday night, January 28th, has helped to promote the West Cork initiative.
He confirmed that about 150 individuals and organisations have already signed up to become part of the network, which is being supported by the West Cork Development Partnership.
The West Cork timebank has been registered as a charity under the name of ‘hOUR Timebanking’ and has its own website at hour-timebank.ie.
People who are not tech savvy, but would like to get involved, can sign up by contacting the membership co-ordinators, Mary Casey on 087 6694247 or Gary Hampton on 083 4513266.
Mr Hampton said: ‘The principle is simple: if you give an hour of your time to someone who needs help, you will receive a time credit that you can then exchange for something you need.’
Credits can be saved-up, donated to others who are unable to earn credits, or stored in the community treasure chest for others to use.’ Long-term, Gary said he believes the hOUR Timebanking system will be a huge benefit to communities.
‘We all have something to give,’ he said. ‘The real wealth of a society is its people. Everyone has the ability to contribute, no matter who they are, or what their life experience has been.’
With the support of West Cork Development Partnership, Sarah Bird, the CEO of Timebanking UK visited West Cork before Christmas to help promote the initiative.
West Cork Development Partnership hosted a day-time meeting for stakeholders at the Emmet Hotel in Clonakilty, as well as an evening presentation to explain the concept to the wider community.
Mr Hampton said: ‘I realise that Timebanking will be readily understood by Irish people who are familiar with the tradition and culture of Meitheal – which is the civic engagement and active participation in our communities.’