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Community First receives National Lottery funding for Woolmer Forest Timebank in Whitehill & Bordon

10/02/2020

Community First is today celebrating after being awarded more than £300,000 from the National Lottery to support and expand Woolmer Forest Timebank over the next five years. The funding will be used to expand the work of this popular Timebank, which is a friendly, supportive network where local residents and organisations can exchange support, skills and knowledge.

Timebank members earn “time credits” by sharing skills or giving practical help and support to other members and then spend their credits on something for themselves. For example, by doing some shopping for an elderly neighbour or repairing someone’s bike, a Timebank member can “earn” a time credit. They can then spend this… for example by asking another Timebank member to help with some difficult paperwork or to solve a problem with their laptop. Organisations can join the Timebank too. They might offer the use of a meeting room for a few hours to earn time credits and then spend these by asking Timebank members to help at one of their community events. It is free to join.

The new Woolmer Forest Timebank project is supported by 6 local partner organisations led by the charity Community First. These are Furniture Helpline, The Kingsley Organisation, Nextdoor Whitehill & Bordon, Radian, Whitehill & Bordon Community Association and Whitehill & Bordon Community Trust. Timebanking UK, the national umbrella organisation for Timebanks in the UK is also signed up to offer support.

Over the last year Timebank members have given over 600 hours of support with activities ranging from lifting and shifting, sharpening garden tools, basic IT help and providing companionship. Members come from all walks of life. Everyone’s time is equally valued. People who live near each other get to know one another. Permanent new friendships are made. As well as individual exchanges of help, there are group activities. The Timebank has a team of willing gardeners who can help out in members’ gardens and members recently started up a “Sewing for the Community” group making good use of members’ sewing machine skills whilst nurturing those who are not so confident.

Whitehill & Bordon resident Sue Carter, one of the founder members of the Timebank, said, “I retired to become my mother’s full time carer. After Mum passed, I found myself at a loss. The answer was the Timebank. Everyone was friendly. There were plenty of people ready with advice or a helping hand. I have made so many new acquaintances. One member walks my dog and collected my prescription for me when I was stuck at the hospital. Another trimmed my wisteria resulting in the best blooms I have ever had! I have helped with gardening, mended a water butt, repaired an armchair and helped out at local events. You get more out than you put in, as you make so many friends and meet interesting people.”

The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, will see many more activities being provided by the Timebank in Whitehill & Bordon and an increase in its membership. It aims to reduce social isolation, increase social and informal neighbourly support, connect new and existing residents in the town and encourage more involvement in the local community.

Claire Coxwell, who has been managing the Timebank as a volunteer said, ”We’re over the moon that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised the work of Woolmer Forest Timebank in this way. Now, we are looking forward to working with our members and partners to use this award for the benefit of the whole community in Whitehill & Bordon.”

Mandy Harris, Community Development & Volunteering Manager at Community First said: “This is
amazing news for Community First. We are excited to be working with partners to support the
community of Whitehill & Bordon and its surrounding villages.”

To join or find out more about Woolmer Forest Timebank, view the website, email timebank@furniturehelpline.org.uk, call 07723 531922 or drop into their monthly Thursday morning meeting at Forest Community Centre in Bordon.

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