Time Banks meet everyday needs through the mutual exchange of time, skills and opportunities. Participants ‘deposit’ time in the time bank by spnding a few hours helping out in their community. They are then able to withdraw these ‘time credits’ from the time bank when they need help themselves. Everyone’s time is valued equally and everyone both gives to and benefits from the scheme.
Time banking challenges the views that people, either – have needs and are therefore to be related to as service users, or – that they have something to give and are therefore volunteer material. We recognise that, given encouragement, support and the opportunity everyone wants to make a difference and can make a contribution. We all like to feel needed and we know that being a part of something bigger than ones self, being a part of a community or social network, gives our life more meaning. Our experience has also shown that people value the chance to pay back and to break free from passively consuming services or recieving charity.