Rushey Green Time Bank - Connect, Give

Rushey Green Time Bank was the first time bank to be based in a health care setting. Dr Byng of the Rushey Green practice felt that his patients needed something more than medication. Isolation was one of the underlying problems facing his patients. Initially the practice's patients and health workers were asked for suggestions on how they could all make a positive impact on how to build social networks to help reduce social isolation and loneliness, and how to harness local support, increase reciprocity, and increase opportunities for volunteering. The outcome was the Rushey Time Bank, and it was set up in March 2000. This project improves the health and wellbeing of residents, specifically the practice's patients.

This time bank operates like many others: residents can accumulate credit by volunteering their time and can withdraw credit when they wish to access help for themselves.

Key to the success of this project was to appoint a full-time paid coordinator (or broker) to maintain people's accounts and to manage how individual's hours can be exchanged.

Another success factor is that volunteers and patients are central to the design and sustainability of this project. Through word-of-mouth and local promotion in the GP practice, existing volunteers help to recruit new members, organise events and do administrative duties in the office.

Rushey Green Time Bank provides a place of belonging where older residents, their children and grandchildren can feel safe and have someone to talk to. The time bank is providing a neighbourhood that is strong and makes people feel wanted and needed.

Partnerships have also been important to the expansion and sustainability of this project. Rushey Green's partnership includes the local garden centre, a local nursing home, Voluntary Action Lewisham, Downham Cycle Taxis, Lewisham Community Health Council and St. Lawrence's Church.

Unabridged version: Rushey Green Time Bank

15 September 2011

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