Kiama Council is getting behind Timebanking, the State Government’s online community time trading system that facilitates the voluntary exchange of
services between members.
Timebanking is not a new concept in the rest of the world, having proved popular in countries like the UK and Japan for decades.
“There are multiple benefits to be gained in recognising the time that people in our community give to helping each other,” says Council’s Manager of Community and Cultural Development, Nick Guggisberg.
“Once you become a Timebanking member, you are able to search through all the offers of service and requests for assistance made by other members.
“By giving one hour to help another member or organisation, you earn one hour of time credit. You can then trade it to receive services that are of personal value to you, offered voluntarily by other Timebanking members.
“These could be anything – from dog walking, ironing, gardening or massage, to language tuition, help with painting, administrative assistance or music lessons. They are the sort of things that many people in our community are doing for others already.”
The time credits earned can also be donated to other individuals or organisations so they can get the help they need.
For example, someone living in Kiama could build time credits by helping an elderly neighbour out with their gardening, and transfer those credits to a relative living in another community who needs help with their shopping.
The time credits can also be donated to a special Kiama Community Chest, to help people access services in time of need.
Seventy four communities in NSW are registered on the Timebanking system, with one third of participants who have joined up having never seen themselves as volunteers before.
However timebanking is a way for work done by traditional volunteers to be recognised, both for themselves as individuals and for the organisations they work with. For the latter, it could help with grant applications by demonstrating the amount of time people are devoting to the cause.
Timebanking will also allow organisations to reach out to the community to ask for assistance, such as volunteers for events, board members and working bees.
“There are many people who want to help others in our community, but they don’t know how to get in contact. Time-banking will help make the connections,” says Mr Guggisberg.
Council has the assistance of a 3rd year Social Work student from the University of Wollongong, Tim John, to help roll the new system out to the community.