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 can have the biggest impact on 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 gardening can make all the difference to a person’s happiness and well-being.

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 are able to offer an odd hour now and again that is fine. Timebanking is reciprocal, if you give an hour you get an hour back to ask for something you want or need – so the more you put in the more you get out. Timebanking works around you not the other way around – you tell us when you are available.

How do I get or give time?

Firstly you will need to join Timebank South West (it’s free to join) and one of our Outreach Workers will ask you what you would like to give e.g dog walking, gardening, basic DIY, baking etc and what you would like back. When you have joined you let us know when you are ready to give some time or you may respond to a request for help on our Facebook page or monthly newsletter and we will make all the arrangements with you and the other person to ensure the exchange goes smoothly.

You get hours by helping someone (give an hour to get an hour back) and you can also get time for joining in on our weekly socials or group activities. You don’t need to be a member to attend a social but you can only receive hours or exchange your time and skills when you are a member.

What if I don’t want anything back?

We encourage all Timebank members to ask for something back otherwise it might prevent someone else from giving their time and skills. 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?

Timebanking is informal and has no regular time commitments and therefore should not prevent you from seeking work. 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 us such as our weekly socials are free or for example a knitting session will be 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 person involved exchanges their skills and time when they want to do it and for how long. 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 you and there are no regular obligations.

Is it safe?

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

  • All members will have met face to face with a Timebank South West member of staff before joining
  • All new members who join will be invited to participate in group activities before they begin to offer one to one exchanges
  • The vast majority of exchanges are carried out in community venues
  • We risk assess all activities carried out by our timebank members
  • Exchanges in homes with members who consider themselves to be vulnerable or any member who has been referred to us by an outside agency will be carried out with a member of staff present
  • 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 Timebank South West
  • 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
  • We have a General Data Protection Regulation policy that ensures 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 a third party
General Data Protection Regulation

Timebank South West uses and protects any information that you give us as a member/participant. We require this information so we can understand your needs and provide you with a better service. Timebank South West is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected and we adhere to the Data Protection Act 2017 and the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

What personal details we collect

  • your name
  • contact information including email, postal address and telephone number
  • what skills you would like to give and receive
  • days and times you may be available
  • emergency contact number
  • any health conditions we should be aware of (this is an optional question)
  • to ensure our service is inclusive we ask people to complete an Equality and Diversity questionnaire (this form is anonymous and optional)
  • how many hours you have given or received as a Timebank member

We keep your information safe by:

  • reducing the number of people who have access (trained and DBS checked staff only have access)
  • regularly changing passwords
  • keeping our work office door locked
  • keeping our work office filing cabinet locked
  • keys to our work office and filing cabinet are kept hidden
  • never taking private and confidential information home or to another venue
  • never selling, distributing or leasing your personal information to third parties unless we have your permission or are required by law to do so
  • not passing on your data or contact details to other Timebank South West members without your prior knowledge and consent.

We currently hold your personal information in three ways

  1. Paper joining form – this is the form you completed and signed when you joined Timebank South West. These forms are kept in a locked filing cabinet in our locked work office. Only Timebank South West staff who are trained and DBS checked have access to the filing cabinet.

We use a paper joining form in order to:

  • add your correct details on to Timeonline, including your contact details, skills you would like to give and receive and the days you are available
  • have signed proof that you personally joined Timebank South West
  • enable Timebank South West staff to easily join people up when out and about in neighbourhoods
  1. Timeonline – this is a secure database hosted by Timebanking UK of which Timebank South West is a registered member. Timeonline has a unique password which only trained and DBS checked Timebank South West staff have access to.

We use Timeonline in order to:

  • enable our staff to safely match people and skills up for one to one and group exchanges
  • to contact you by telephone, email or post to arrange an exchange of time and skills with another registered Timebank South West member
  • record member’s credit and debit hours
  • store contact information safely and securely
  • provide our funders with statistical information such as the combined membership and number of hours swapped (individual’s full names are not given)
  1. Mailchimp – this is an online platform that provides newsletter and campaign templates and the ability to email a large number of people at the same time.

You will only receive our Mailchimp newsletter if you have given us your email address. You can unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time.

We use Mailchimp in order to:

  • produce a monthly timebanking newsletter to keep you informed of timebanking news, stories, activities and social events.


To illustrate timebanking in action we sometimes take photographs of an exchange or of group activities taking place. Permission of each individual is always confirmed prior to a photograph being taken and anyone is free to refuse their photograph being taken.

Photographs with an individual’s permission may be used to:

  • illustrate a case study or a written report
  • post on our Timebank South West Facebook page and other social media
  • post on our Timebank South West website
  • used as part of our display at events


To illustrate timebanking in action we occasionally make a video of an exchange or group activity. Permission of each individual is always confirmed prior to a video being made and anyone is free to refuse to be videoed.

Videos with an individual’s permission may be used to:

  • post on our Timebank South West Facebook and Youtube pages
  • post on our Timebank South West website

We never take photographs or make videos of people under the age of 18 years old.

Links to other websites

Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, you should note that we do not have any control over other websites. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.

How long will we keep your information for?

We will only keep your information for as long as you agree to be a member. If you wish to leave Timebank South West you must contact us to confirm your wishes, your details will then be removed from our database and your paper joining form will be shredded. You may re-join at any time.

If you no longer wish to receive our monthly mailout you can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe button at the end of the mailing. Please note this action does not stop you being a member and if your intention was to leave Timebank South West you must contact us to let us know.

If any of your contact details change please contact Timebank South West so we can up-date your information.

Under the Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), you have the right to access your personal information that we hold about you.



Timebank South West

Timebank South West is a registered not for profit charity (1169627).

Our overall aim is to bring people together to reduce social isolation and loneliness and improve individual’s well-being through actively exchanging their time, skills and knowledge with others in their community.

We support eight timebank hubs based in Plymouth neighbourhoods including, Barne Barton, Devonport, Efford, Ernesettle, North Prospect, Honicknowle, Stonehouse and Whitleigh. We host weekly socials in each neighbourhood, organise one to one and group skill swaps and run group activities and timebanking events. We also have a one-year pilot project called Plan It, Cook It, Share It, in Barne Barton and Whitleigh funded by the National Lottery.

We have 4 part-time dedicated staff and a board of Trustees. Timebank South West is funded by Plymouth City Council, National Lottery Awards for All and Livewest and works with a multitude of partners and service providers.

If you would like to find out more or volunteer your time and skills, please contact us.

Timebank South West
15 Whitleigh Green

Telephone: 01752 875930



Charity Registered number: 1169627