Community builders from Torbay Community Development Trust use timebanking to help people change their neighbourhoods into the positive places they would like them to be.
Unable to find a digital platform that met their requirements, Torbay CDT didn’t have the appropriate means to utilise tech to increase their reach. Their previous timebanking solution comprised of 14 separate websites (one for each timebank) with limited means to interchange between timebanks. Also, the Trust’s community builders struggled to manage the timebank exchanges on their clients behalves (e.g. if their client was digitally illiterate).
Torbay Community Development Trust approached Made Open to see if our online community platform could be adapted to support their timebanking service. We already had similar plans and a partnership between our two organisations duly formed. Fast forward four months to 1st February 2018 and ‘Torbay Together’ was launched at a unique event in Torbay – helping 27 community neighbourhoods across the region to earn credits online by helping others in their community.
This new platform, supported by the Ageing Well Torbay programme, helped the Trust to support any local person over the age of 50 to reconnect with their local community and meet new friends - everything from offers of gardening, ironing or picking up groceries on behalf of other people to direct offers such as "I will play scrabble with you" and "I will cook you a warm meal". These offers are helping to stimulate positive connections for people who are isolated in one way or another.
In its first year, Torbay Together amassed nearly 400 new members, 2,750 credits earnt and 346 credits spent. Timebanking has played a role in the Trust evidencing the following key indicators from a base of 1,500 people: self-reported loneliness has reduced from 59% to 29%; social interaction has increased by 10%; befriending has increased from 23% to 36%; problems with mobility have reduced from 70% to 54%; GP visits have been halved; hospital admittance is down by 60%; extreme anxiety and depression is down from 20% to 8%.
Torbay Together is being migrated onto our version 2 platform. This will be a first of its kind platform - merging our community directory and community exchange (timebanking) into a single seamless user experience.
We believe we are the only platform that mobilises not only the assets of community groups and clubs (e.g. pilates classes, knitting clubs) but also the assets and resources of people living in communities (e.g. I will walk your dog, I will cook you a hot meal). When combined, this is a compelling proposition that truly accesses the resources, skills and experience available in a community; one that organises the community around things that are important to them and encourages community members to utilise what they already possess.
The platform is going live later in 2019.