Sustainable community

Being a sustainable community in the widest sense involves enhancing residents’ health and well-being as well as reducing their impact on the environment. Sustainable Cottenham is looking into ways in which this can be improved whether by signposting to existing services which benefit health and well-being or exploring the benefits and feasibility of initiatives such as Timebanking.

The adverse health effects of loneliness have been in the news recently. Most of the recent research has either been in the US or supported by the Campaign for the Abolition of Loneliness. However, here is a recent independent UK study which concludes that older people who experience high levels of loneliness are at increased risk of becoming physically frail. https://academic.oup.com/ageing/article/47/3/392/4772155

What is Time Banking?

In a Timebanking scheme people can exchange help, advice and companionship in units of 1 hour of time. It may sound a bit idealistic but it has been shown to reduce loneliness and promote social inclusion and community spirit in local parishes such as Somersham.

There are already many valuable services in Cottenham run by volunteers and Timebanking is not intended to interfere with those arrangements – it would complement existing activities and, more importantly, encourage involvement from an even wider cross-section of residents, young and old.

How it could work

The success of the scheme would hinge on finding an enthusiastic Time Bank Coordinator who would liaise between people offering and needing services, keep a log of participants’ hours and publicise the scheme. This would be a part-time post and although it might be provided on a voluntary basis this is unlikely so the cost is likely to be £10k – £12k.

A more detailed description of time-banking and time credits can be found at  www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/council/communities-&-localism/time-currency/