Do you enjoy food? Most of us do! But it’s sometimes difficult to get a good square meal when you need it – which is most days! Sometimes people cook too much and just throw away the leftovers; others can’t afford to buy enough food at the inflated prices we see today. Some find cooking a joy and enjoy being in the kitchen; others buy pre-cooked or takeaway meals to avoid the ‘chore’ of cooking. Why can’t we help each other out? What’s so around catering and eating food is also the case for producing it and getting rid of the waste. We all have time and skill we can offer and there are always ways we can be helped by neighbours and friends.
Valuing your time
Now there is a simple way for local people to help each other and be recognised for that help too. In a Timebank, everyone’s time is valued equally regardless of the skills being exchanged and no money exchanges hands. So for every hour you spend helping someone else – for example cooking them a meal or picking up their groceries – you get one time credit. You can then spend that credit getting help from another member of the Timebank – for example getting a lift to the airport or digging over your vegetable garden. It helps people get stuff done, pick up new skills, meet new people and feel good along the way!
“…maybe you’ve always wanted to learn the guitar or need a cake for your daughter’s birthday…”
Giving credit where it’s due
Kim Dexter is working at Time and Talents in Rotherhithe to set up our very own Timebank round here. She has been talking to people in groups and at their front doors across Bermondsey and Rotherhithe encouraging them to join the Timebank and then to link up the offers and requests. “Food comes up again and again in these conversations,” says Kim. “People have always shared food at festivals and parties but also between friends and with their neighbours. What the Timebank offers is a way to value those normal parts of life and giving everyone a chance to join in as both a giver and a receiver.”
“…I’ve had one lady who wanted to learn to cook Thai dishes and another who was keen to put grow-bags on her balcony but didn’t know what to grow…”
Cupcakes and grow-bags
“Baking has been given a huge boost by the Great British BakeOff (BBO) and so lots of people want to learn how to bake great cupcakes or start out decorating cakes creatively. And of course there are lots of gardens locally that could do with some tender care and again lots of eager gardeners who want to get their hands on some more space to grow their own veg. I’ve had one lady who wanted to learn to cook Thai dishes and another who was keen to put grow-bags on her balcony but didn’t know what to grow. There’s so many different ways to share around food in this community.”
“…everyone’s time is valued equally regardless of the skills being exchanged and no money exchanges hands…”
Sharing skills and time
Kim’s enthusiasm is contagious and she already has dozens of people who want to use the Timebank to share their time – not just food related – with their community. If you want to get involved just get in touch with Kim. First step is to register as a member of the Timebank and you can log some credits with the bank as soon as you want. Perhaps you’d be happy to help put together someone’s new flat-packed wardrobe; maybe you’ve always wanted to learn the guitar or need a cake for your daughter’s birthday. You might have time to sit and read with a youngster or be a regular visitor to a local residential home. There are so many ways to earn a time credit – your imagination is the only constraint! And on the way, you meet new people and make friends across SE16!
Time and Talents are at The Old Mortuary, St Marychurch Street SE16 4JE
Kim can be reached by phone at 020 7232 5661 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org