CHS Group runs two timebanks, in Cambourne and Littleport & Ely, giving people a way to help others in their community. Participants ‘deposit’ time in a bank by giving practical help and support to others and are able to ‘withdraw’ their time when they need something done themselves.
Mariam has dementia and mobility problems and rarely leaves the house. And, while she has carers to support her husband and her daughter Rasha, Mariam was feeling lonely during the day. Rasha contacted Cambourne Timebank to ask if someone could visit her mother regularly.
Renata visits Mariam for an hour once every fortnight for a chat. Mariam is very happy to see Renata and welcomes her in her native Arabic, saying: “You are the light of my eyes”. They talk about Mariam’s children and grandchildren, music and how she used to teach Arabic.
Renata said: “Working with the timebank to help people who genuinely need support is one of the most enjoyable things I can imagine spending my free time doing. Visiting Mariam for just a bit of a chat lights up her day and that lights up mine too. I am fortunate to live in a community that is engaged and that has such a compassionate volunteer base.”
CHS Group has been running the timebanks for five years and recently received £50,000 from the Big Lottery Building Communities fund. “This money will enable us to continue running our timebanks and will help us increase our impact by getting more people involved, increasing the number of volunteer hours and to support three more communities,” said Timebank Project Manager Gerry Cano.