The London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), along with the Department for Education, the Daycare Trust and South Westminster Action Network have partnered to launch the South Westminster Time Bank, hosted from LEYF’s Marsham Street children’s centre.
Funded by the Daycare Trust using DfE money, The South Westminster Time Bank is open to anyone living, working or studying in the area.
While there are a number of time banks across the country, this is the first with a children’s centre as its key focus.
When registering to become a member of the South Westminster Time Bank, participants fill in a form listing what they are able to help with and if someone can help them. They are then matched with another member.
Typical jobs include doing shopping or running errands for local residents, simple DIY and redecorating, ironing and babysitting.
Along with opportunities to help local members of the community, members can also volunteer at LEYF’s children’s centre doing jobs such as cleaning toys, admin or helping out at events.
For every hour participants spend volunteering they gain an hour of support for themselves.
June O’Sullivan, chief executive of London Early Years Foundation, said, ‘We need to be constantly looking at ways of connecting people and weaving a network that helps people to get to know each other, make friends across generations and cultures. We want to find ways to reduce loneliness and increase neighbourliness. The response so far has been positive and we are very excited.’
Anand Shukla, chief executive of Daycare Trust, said, ‘We’re delighted to be supporting this time bank project. Finding ways to support parents, carers, members of the community and local services to work together can only have benefits for children and families.’