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PRESS RELEASE

 

 April 2003

 

 

Welcome to Community Time Banks - Where People’s Skills Count As Currency

 

 

The University of Wales College, Newport (UWCN) is playing a key role in an innovative new project that will create new forms of currency for people in the South Wales Valleys.  The aim is to set up Time Banks to develop a community currency which will value the time that people put into building and strengthening their local communities.

 

“Community Time Banks will focus on the skills that everyone has – from dog-walking and gardening to using a computer,” explained John Rogers of UWCN’s Centre for Community and Lifelong Learning. “It’s an incentive for people to work for their local community - If you do something for your community, your community will do something for you.”

 

The Community Time Banks are to be created by the Wales Institute for Community Currencies (WICC), a partnership project between Time Banks UK, a national development agency for Community Time Banks, Valleys Kids, a long established charity working in Rhondda Cynon Taf, and UWCN which has successfully gained support from Objective One European Structural Funds for the project.

 

WICC will support the establishment of Community Time Banks in the most disadvantaged communities in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr, Rhondda Cynon Taf, and Torfaen.

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John Rogers, who is Project Co-ordinator for the Eastern Valleys, added, “This exciting project is the first Institute for Community Currencies in the UK, possibly the world! It fills a gap in the community sector.  Agencies exist for other forms of community enterprise such as credit unions and cooperatives.  This is the first time that community currencies will have both a direct voice to policy makers and a support agency for local people and groups who want to get community currency systems off the ground. 

 

“We are confident that these new ways of organising and rewarding local community-building efforts are here to stay and that in the coming years local authorities, health groups, schools and voluntary groups will all play their part in making these systems work for everyone.

 

“The project will be located in the Centre for Community and Lifelong Learning (CCLL) at UWCN and will build on CCLL’s national reputation for widening participation and access to educational opportunities for all.

 

“WICC is now advertising for development officers to work with local people and existing community organisations, and advise on how they can set up a time bank mechanism to value the time that people put into building their community. Time banks can have a range of  specific applications which will benefit the community in terms of health, learning and the environment.”

 

He explained that the communities create their own menu of choices as to how time credits can be spent. Time banks that gain funding can spend the credits on trips to the seaside or  museums. He gave as an example a similar scheme in which people were able to buy a recycled computer with 50 hours worth of credits gained working for the community. 

 

“One of the projects we will be developing over the three years of the programme is around 'learning time credits' which will prove useful to anyone taking part in informal learning opportunities in the community, which may lead them on to ways into higher levels of education.

 

“Existing community organisations can be used as vehicles which can integrate time banks into their list of activities. Community time banks should not be viewed as a threat to volunteering - but as a different way of valuing volunteers’ time and efforts.”

 

Anyone wanting more information on setting up Community Time Banks or details on how to become a Development Officer for the project should contact John Rogers on 01495 350283 or by email john.rogersXnewport.ac.uk  [X instead of @ to prevent spam]

 

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PR00/04/03

 

 

Further information from:

Phil Mansell, Press and Communications Officer

Tel: 01633 432822  Fax: 01633 432988  Email: pressXnewport.ac.uk [X instead of @ to prevent spam]