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Martin Pugh says TimeBank is re-connecting people within their community.

“Before you can share, you need to connect”

TimeBank Waimakariri’s vision continues to reverse the disconnect and lack of sharing within local communities.

Martin Pugh, who shares Timebank’s coordinator role with Jennifer Penwell, said life had happened to many communities in a way that had made neighbours and communities strangers.

Volunteering time through TimeBank Waimakariri has instead given the community a proactive platform to connect, re-connect, and also to give back.

“That sharing already does happen in our community, but a lot less now than it did years ago”, Martin said. “Because people are generally more transient these days. And, if older people move into a new neighbourhood, and they don’t know anyone they tend to stick to themselves.

“What we do is connect like-minded people, who are community focussed. We want people to share, to learn, and to unite. And, if things can get achieved, fixed or progressed at the same time, then that’s great.

“Our mantra is, ‘Connect and share’. But, before you can share, you need to connect.”

In gear for 18 months

TimeBank Waimakariri has now been active for 18 months. The global parent movement was started in the United States by Dr Edgar Cahn, who registered the business in Washington in 1995. Today it brings people together all over the world.

TimeBanks USA’s website lists that its mission is to, “Promote equality and build caring community economies through inclusive exchanges of time and talents.”

Helping in a different way

The one rule is that no-one can give their time using the same skill they use to generate their income. For example, a lawyer doesn’t offer advice on the law through TimeBank.

And, Martin says it is surprising how many people aren’t employed at everything they are good at.

You’d be surprised. We have people who can fix computers, and it’s not their primary source of income.”

“We’ve got also people who can design irrigation systems or complete fund-raising applications, and it’s not their primary source of income.

“Humans are very diverse, and you get someone say, ‘Oh, they only know the legal system or accounting’. But that’s not necessarily true, because they often know a lot about many other things. 

“We have lots of people who are skilled in many different ways, and TimeBank gives us a vehicle to access those people.”

Martin adds while not everyone has money, everyone has time. And, in the TimeBank conversation, “everyone’s time is of the same value.”

Gathering momentum

Martin says TimeBank continues to gather momentum in North Canterbury.

“We are growing in an organic way within the Waimakariri the more we put our name out there,” Martin says.

“And to be honest, we aren’t wanting growth for growth’s sake, because connection is such an integral part of our mission.”

Time transaction

“The whole point is that TimeBank is not to be a transactional function. Our economy is based on the exchange of time, rather than the exchange of professional skills.

“If you are joining us for a transactional reason, you’re probably not in the right place.”

“We want people to join us for the community, the friendship and the fellowship.”

What they are saying...