Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t have any ‘skills’ to share?

We believe that everyone has something to offer – often it is the smallest of gestures that have the biggest impact of people’s lives. For example, everyday things like spending time talking to someone, sharing life stories, reading aloud, picking up shopping, walking a dog or doing some ironing can make all the difference.

What if I don’t have much time to give?

Timebanking is flexible and you only offer your time when you want to offer it. Unlike formal volunteering you do not need to commit to regular hours or days. If you wanted you could offer an hour a year but the more you put in the more you get out. Timebanking works around you not the other way around – so you tell us when are available!

How do I get or give time?

Sign up and contact Timebank South West to arrange an exchange or attend any local Timebanking activities.

What if I don’t want anything back?

We encourage all Timebank members to ask for something back otherwise it might prevent someone else giving their skill. Timebanking works best when people are giving and receiving. If, however you don’t want anything back you can donate your credit hours to another member, community group or a family member.

Does it affect my benefits?

If you are claiming Universal Credit or other benefits and are required to look for work for 35 hours a week, Timebanking can count towards that time – but make sure you speak to your work coach about it first.

Do I need real money to access the Time Bank?

Timebanking is free but you may need to supply materials for an exchange. For example if you want someone to paint a door you will need to supply the paint, paint brush and protective sheet. Timebanks often get donations of materials so it is worth checking with us before you buy anything. The time the person gives to paint your door is free but you will ‘owe’ time back to another Timebank member at a later stage. Group activities run by Timebanks such as a knitting circle are free but if you are able to bring your own wool and needles that would be helpful.

Isn’t it just the same as volunteering?

Not entirely. It is reciprocal informal volunteering, where each party involved exchanges skills and time. Timebanking is flexible and enables individuals to dip in and out as much as they like, donating their time where they see fit. It really works around your own engagements and there is no obligation.

Is it safe?

The safety of all our members is of great importance to us and we follow policies and procedures and have sensible safety measures in place as recommended by Timebanking UK:

  • All members will have met face to face with a Timebank South West member of staff or a trained and DBS checked Volunteer Broker
  • All new members who join will be invited to participate in group activities and events before they begin to offer one to one exchanges
  • Most exchanges are carried out in community venues
  • We risk assess all activities carried out by our Timebank members
  • Members are never left alone with young people or adults who consider themselves to be vulnerable or anyone referred to us by an outside agency.
  • Each Timebank member must agree to and sign a code of conduct, if they breach the code of conduct they could be asked to leave the Timebank.
  • We have a complaints system in place.
  • Timebank South West has public liability insurance.
  • Personal information is never passed on without the permission of the member.
  • All personal data is kept in a locked filing cabinet and secure database accessed only by Timebank South West staff
  • We will never sell your contact details to third parties.
  • All Volunteer Brokers are trained and DBS checked