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Coinciding with the second anniversary of NHS England’s national vanguards, is the second anniversary of Erewash Time Swap, one of the projects that make up the Wellbeing Erewash vanguard. In April 2015 the first member signed up for Erewash Time Swap and now two years later, it has attracted nearly 100 members who between themselves have carried out 72 swaps of time and skills.

Time banks such as the Erewash Time Swap project allow people to offer their time and skills - such as home DIY and garden maintenance - and receive time back from other people with different skills in return. Time banking is an easy way for people to become a valued part of their community as well as giving practical help to those who need it. Here, Jo Perkins, project leader for Erewash Time Swap, explains how the local time bank works, how people can get involved, and the benefits for individuals and the local community. 

Jo Perkins’ multi-faceted swap shop

“Through Erewash Time Swap amazing things happen. We process many requests and offers of skills, things like hedge-cutting, replacing bathroom sealant, dog walking and photography, all valuable and helpful activities in their own right but it is much, much more than that. The connections that are made, the friendships that are started, the conversations that take place; the Time Swap creates a spider’s web of loveliness.

“There are so many stories of mutual support. We have an older member, who is a very good cyclist, and wanted to learn how to use a computer, so another member accompanies him to the local library and they sit down and visit cycling websites. Now they’re off to visit Derby Velodrome together and he’s offered to take the lady’s family on a bike ride.

“We have a lovely lady who originally offered to help any members who were interested in learning to knit – now they have a regular Friday afternoon knitting group in an Ilkeston café. Before she got involved in Erewash Time Swap she said she just used to sit at home doing nothing all day and that this has given her a new lease of life. One of the younger knitting group members came round to walk her dog the other day and this lady made her Sunday dinner in return.

Sharing your skills

“A time bank is all about sharing your skills, not your money. As soon as you sign up to become a member with Erewash Time Swap you receive a free hour of help and there is a fortnightly newsletter which lists skills that people can offer and requests for help that people are looking for. I would say about 95% of the requests for support are now being met. In the beginning there was a steady trickle of requests but there is real momentum behind the scheme now. I came on board in November 2016 and activity has slowly been increasing but looking at the latest figures it’s really taken off. I love going out to meetings, hearing all about what people want to do and what they can offer, and going back to log it all on the spreadsheets. We now have more than 90 members who had carried out 72 swaps at the last count. While there is little to compare it to in the past, we are already exceeding the targets set for the year.

Everyone has skills

“If there was no Erewash Time Swap we would still have lots of people just sitting at home, no jobs being done, with people looking at the cracks in the walls and the peeling wallpaper. I have had a varied career to date, working in the voluntary sector or in a university, often helping disadvantaged youngsters in the community, but this role has shown me a layer of society that I have never met before. We live in a busy world with people flying about everywhere but some of these people are being walked past. Some members may have mental health problems, they may struggle with depression or have anxiety or confidence issues, and in some cases they have simply been forgotten. The number of times I have heard someone say: ‘but I have no skills to offer’ and I know that they have because everyone has. You get people talking to you who say they have been to the GP for this and that, but at the heart of their problems, they have just been lonely. In the Time Swap, they are no longer forgotten or ignored. They are visible and valued. They have something to give, indeed all our members tend to be more concerned with giving than receiving. Time swapping is very supportive in this way and it is very satisfying seeing someone help someone who helps someone else.

Making the connections

“We’re getting people talking together again, helping neighbours again, connecting people again. There’s a huge amount of loneliness out there and we’re able to help forge new friendships, we’re spreading the goodness. Somehow we seem to have lost our way in the world, we have lost the connections. It is ‘us’ and ‘them’, there is a mass collective fear of ‘other people’. Erewash Time Swap is one of the solutions to this. We are encouraging people to come together, from different backgrounds, ages and ethnicity. The beauty of the Time Swap is that you can jump in and out. If you have the time and the skill then jump in, if not don’t worry, and that’s a lovely thing. It’s a great project to be involved and I absolutely love what I do. I feel like a puppeteer, pulling the strings, spinning the plates, getting people together and getting everything going. It’s a labour of love but the people I meet are just so lovely. Every week something will happen which gladdens my heart and brings a little tear to my eye.

“As time goes on I would like to see the groups and networks being formed through the Time Swap become more sustainable and self-determined so they no longer need the push or support from us to regularly meet. Our goal in the immediate future is to continue to increase membership. For anyone reading this locally in Erewash please consider joining or asking your friends and family to join. There’s so much that we can all offer. We are the people, and we are the fix, and we can make this happen.”

For more information about Erewash Time Swap including finding out about membership, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Jo on 07974 269193. Visit:

Jo Perkins, project leader for Erewash Time Swap

pdfErewash Time Swap poster

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