Search our website:

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


Time2Trade is an innovative co-production initiative which helps public service providers to get in touch with so-called ‘hard-to-reach’ groups.  This makes Time2Trade also different from most other timebanking schemes in the UK which are mainly focused on community self-help exchanges and work around public services but not WITH public services. The Time2Trade co-production approach has produced results in a cost effective way, which would not be possible through traditional service delivery..

This section will outline how the Timebank has built social capital, improved health and well- being, tackling social isolation, combated health inequalities, empowered its members, and enabled individuals to improve their skills and qualifications.

Through partnering with Eatwell in Sandwell Time2Trade has been able to improve its member’s dietary habits and access to healthy food Time2Trade. Eatwell in Sandwell is an award winning healthy eating campaign also funded by the PCT. This linkage means time bank members are able to purchase food up to the value of £4 using one time bank credit at Eatwell’s affiliated community cafes. This is particularly important in mitigating health inequalities for cash-poor members of Sandwell, and allowing members of the community access quality, healthy food. To ensure that healthy food community cafes maintain high standards the time bank has setup a mystery shopping service to evaluate them.  Time bank members are able to earn time credits that they can use to receive other services, whilst also being able to enjoy healthy meals. This represents a ‘win-win’ situation for the member and the PCT. The cost of a meal for the member as a reward represents a much cheaper than if the PCT operated through an agency. It also provided valuable raw data that Eatwell in Sandwell was able to use to develop their services and address their faults.

Time Bank members have also been able to earn Fruit and Veg Vouchers. These have been extremely popular – for example between September 2009 and February 2010 82 vouchers were issued amongst 32 members. For the elderly and other cash poor members this represents an extremely effective way in which they can access high quality healthy food. Also one member decided to donate his voucher for a children’s group to enjoy and another decided to donate it to an elderly people group. The Time Bank has enabled its member to use their credits to receive training in food hygiene, and health and safety training. This has built the capacity of its members to be more employable and able to put on more events.

Time2Trade has improved opportunities for its members to become physically active. Members have been able to earn credits by volunteering to help run exercise activities for Sandwell PCT. This has included exercise classes, and local walking sessions. Another way that the Time Bank seeks to provide its members with an opportunity to get exercise has been through providing its members with access to local gym facilities.  

The Time Bank has created a partnership with the local YMCA and members are able to enrol for a one month period. This allows members to use state of the art gym facilities and exploring whether using the gym is a realistic way for them to improve their fitness. If they then want to join the gym on a permanent basis the YMCA has a wide range of options available such as concessions for over 60s and those receiving certain benefits.

Time2Trade members have also been able to use their time to help improve the mental well-being of other people in the community through taking part in a befriending scheme. This scheme run by the PCT’s mental health outreach team, involves spending several hours a week in the company of someone in need of support in their recovery from the effects of mental health problems. This has proved to be a very cost effective way for the PCT to run such a scheme to ensure independence, improving mental health and providing personalised support for Sandwell residents.

The projects links with Bridging the Gap community organisation has improved the employability of the young volunteers who became members of the time bank. Volunteering the youngster are able to obtain a certificate from their activity. The Bridging the Gap certification forms part of a record of achievement for the young people which was developed by Sandwell PCT community development dept and Bridging The Gap. These certificates represent a great way to bolster these young individuals’ CV’s – and allow them to do something positive for the community.

Case study of the individual impact: Donna Reid

Donna was introduced to Dan and the Time Bank four years ago through her housing support officer. Following this referral, Donna decided to join the Time Bank. Donna was battling cancer, she wasn’t able to work and felt like she was alone. Donna feels that being a Time Bank member gives her a purpose to get up. She has been able to meet lots of people and creating connections with them. This has helped her with her recovery. Without the Time Bank she would be spending her time sat at home which would have sent deeper into despair and isolation. For the past two years Dona has helped earn time credits by helping Time2Trade with administration work. The credits that she has earned were used to allow her to study for an NVQ level 2 in Business administration which has now passed. She has also done administrative work for the Credit Union that Time2Trade shares premises with. Dona believes that her experience with the Time Bank has been invaluable in improving her well-being and possibilities for returning to paid employment. When she gets back into employment that she will continue to help out – joking to other members they ‘can’t get rid of me that easily’.

...Next Page

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.

Copyright © Governance International ®, 2010 -2023. All rights reserved