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‘Time2Trade' for the 'time rich and cash poor'

Change Management

Time2Trade was established almost in 2002 when Sandwell received funding from the Health Action Zone Innovations Fund that made grants to improve healthcare. Upon the completion of this funding in 2005 Time2Trade was funded by Sandwell PCT and Greets Green Partnership. Sandwell funded 60 per cent of the projects costs, with Greets Green Partnership covering the remaining 40 per cent. In 2008 when the Greets Green Partnership was completed the success of the project convinced the PCT to step in and pay for all of the costs. Until Time2Trade was integrated into Sandwell Council in April 2013, it was the only Time Bank in the UK that was fully funded by a PCT.

The manager of Time2Trade, Dan Grainger, ensured that the project was able to make quick wins and generate positive publicity. This included tidy up campaigns on a local estate in a partnership between members of the Timebank and the local tenants and residents association.

Time2Trade moves away from the medical model of healthcare and uses a social model. The medical model concentrates on individuals’ physical functioning and diagnoses poor health and illness in terms of the presence of physical causes such as injuries or infections. The social model looks how society, environmental factors and individual lifestyles affect health and well-being. This model below, developed by Dahlgren & Whitehead, outlines the different layers affecting health. Time2Trade seeks to ensure these influences are modified to be as positive as possible. The Timebank promotes ways of living that promote positive individual lifestyle choices. These choices are often impacted by friendship patterns and community norms. Therefore, it is important for the Timebank to develop the social network of its members. Finally, the Timebank tries to improve the living conditions of its members – such as improving their employability, housing conditions and access to services.

Dan Grainger is the manager of Time2Trade. Dan works to ensure the time bank works efficiently, and that its members are able to get the most out of its services. When residents or local organisations join the time bank they are registered on its database as this was recently the case with Governance International. This involves an audit of the skills they are able to provide, their availability, and services that they would like to receive in return. This means that when a Time2Trade member requests a service, Time2Trade can search its database to find someone with the capability to help.

The following are an example of the activities that Timebank members are able to provide and request credits. They include:

  • Admin
  • Adult literacy/ reading lessons
  • Bookkeeping and budgeting
  • Car washing and maintenance
  • Catering and bar work
  • Child care and after school care
  • Computer skills tuition
  • Dog walking
  • Fruit and Veg vouchers
  • Gardening and plant watering
  • Housework
  • Language tuition
  • Letter writing
  • Office work and word processing
  • Painting, decorating, DIY and building maintenance
  • Running fitness, and wellbeing classes
  • Shopping/running errands
  • Translation and interpretation
  • Typing
  • Visiting the housebound
  • Washing/Ironing
  • Youth Work

The Time Bank is located at the heart of the community on West Bromwich High Street in the same building as a credit union. Sharing a similar clientele as the credit union and being in such a busy area makes it easy for individuals to sign up, and for members to stay in touch. Effective communication with residents is crucial to the success of the time bank. Dan Grainger ensures that its members are regularly informed about new ways to be involved and past successes through ‘Time 2 Read’ bulletins and social events. Dan has also grown the scope of the activities provided and the size of the Time 2 Trade has been through the development of links with third sector and statutory organisations. Currently Time 2 Trade has 20 active organisations and well over 200 members.

Active organisations are able to earn time credits from providing members with services, but members are also able to earn credits by helping to volunteer and run activities at these organisations.

The following is a list of some of the active organisations partnered to the timebank:

  • Sandwell PCT: Time 2 Trade is involved with many of the PCT health projects on healthy eating (Eatwell in Sandwell), community exercise, laughter workshops, and befriending schemes.

  • Charlemont Community Centre and Bridging the Gap community organisation in the area: these community centres have been a venue for social events and classes to take place. Timebank members have been able to earn credits through providing services at these events (e.g. DJ-ing and running stalls at community events). Also Bridging the Gap has done a great deal of work to get young people in the community to join the Time Bank.

  • Ryders Green day centre for the elderly: offering respite care.

  • Sandwell Probation service: for ex-offenders to do volunteer work in the community.

  • Sure Start Centres:  Time 2 Trade has been linked to one Sure Start to help provide services for young parents using the centre, such as through helping with coffee mornings and fundraising. As part of plans to increase the Time Bank’s coverage Dan has recently made links with another centre in Sandwell.

  • YMCA: providing access to gym facilities.

Time 2 Trades future efforts towards increasing its efficiency and impact include developing a web-based operation that will provide its members with more up to date opportunities to volunteer services and utilise services.  However, Dan is keen to ensure that Time 2 Trade does not exceed its natural boundaries and overstretch its capacity.

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About this case study
Main Contact

Dan Grainger

Development Manager

Tel: 0121 553 3110




Frankie Hine-Hughes, project manager of Governance International, wrote this case study on 26 September 2011.

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