Your new Time Bank Development Worker

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Hello, my name is Nicki and I am the new Time Bank Development Worker. I have been in the post for 3 months now and am really enjoying the diversity of the role.

Time Bank is a skills exchange programme where members can trade their time to earn credits, which they can then spend getting something back for themselves.  The scheme is a great way of volunteering flexibly and also learning a new skill at the same time, and because it isn’t a full on commitment, you can just give a few hours when it suits you.

Time Bank has nearly 200 members in North Herts, and because of its success, we have recently extended into Stevenage and Buntingford.

We also have our very active garden teams who go out to gardens on a one-off basis to get them back into a manageable state. The teams help lots of different people for many different reasons, and find the work very rewarding as it really can change someone’s lifestyle.

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Prior to taking on the Time Bank role, I worked as a Business Development Co-ordinator at the Hertfordshire MS Therapy Centre. My role was to help co-ordinate volunteers, promote and develop new services across Hertfordshire, reaching out to people affected by MS and other Neurological conditions. The MS Therapy Centre encouraged me to volunteer and get more involved in my community, so over the years I have taken part in many fun days, sponsored walks, swims and most recently myself and two other volunteers took part in a 10k run. The weather was a hot 26 degrees but with a lot of effort  and commitment we managed to complete the race in good time!

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I really am looking forward to seeing the Time Bank develop with its ever growing numbers in Letchworth, and I am sure that Stevenage and Buntingford will be just as successful. I look forward to meeting new members and working with old members to keep the Time Bank as active as possible.

If you are interested in joining, which is free, and want to know more then please call us on 01462 689 405 or visit our website on www.mytimebank.org.uk

Knitting the Community Together: The Time Bank Knitting Group ‘Yarn Bomb’

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North Herts CVS Time Bank, the community skills share project, has today staged a guerrilla knitting project in Letchworth’s town centre.

‘Guerrilla knitting’ or ‘yarn bombing’ is a form of street art, whereby colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn are used to cover and transform trees, community sculptures and street furniture. Members of the Time Bank knitting group and other volunteers have been busily working on panels of knitting and crochet, all of which has been darned together to transform the ‘Paradise Is’ sculpture on the corner of Eastcheap and Gernon Road in Letchworth (right opposite the Broadway Cinema which is featured in the new World’s End film!).

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The project was started by Time Banker Carmen, who wanted to help promote skills sharing and the already popular knitting group. Carmen said of the project “We wanted to stage something right in the centre of Letchworth to show people how Time Banking can bring together our community, and how anyone can get involved. We have had support from lots of locals, some of whom have never knitted before, and we have even had help from Time Bank members who gave up their time to share their DIY skills to help piece everything together.”

Carmen went on to say “I suffer from anxiety so becoming a Time Bank member works well for me. I give my time as my health allows, which may be as little as an hour, and in turn spend that hour receiving help at a later date. I have had assistance with gardening, D.I.Y, cooking and knowledge sharing, with the bonus of social interactions.”

The Time Bank scheme, run by North Herts CVS, has been growing and growing, and the popular knitting group made up of fellow members takes place every Friday morning at the Community Coffee Bar held at the Brotherhood Hall on Gernon Road. The group is always looking to find new members to help take on new projects, and have recently raised money for Guide Dogs for the Blind by selling knitted clothing and gifts they have made. If you are interested in joining or learning how to knit just come along to the Brotherhood Hall on a Friday morning between 10:00am and 11.30am and join in the fun. It’s free to join in, and members of all ages are welcome.

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The yarn bomb will remain in place for one week, and once removed the knitted panels will be re-sewn into blankets to be donated to local charities. The art form is unique in this way, as no public property is damaged and nothing is wasted.

With experience in managing a vibrant skills exchange, already successfully operating across North Herts, Stevenage and Royston, North Herts CVS are also about to launch a Time Bank in nearby Buntingford. The scheme will help bring communities together, re-establishing neighbourly support networks so they can build friendships and help each other out.

The Time Bank is free and easy to join: Please visit www.mytimebank.org.uk, call 01462 689405 or email timebank@nhcvs.org.uk to join.

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Volunteering to Managing at NHCVS Furniture Link

Hi, my name is Jenny and I’m the new manager of Furniture Link. Before taking over as manager I was a volunteer here, helping out in the showroom and up-cycling pieces of furniture. I started volunteering at Furniture Link during a period of unemployment as a reason to get out of the house, meet new people and do something creative. However as it turned out, it led to the start of a fantastic new job! It just shows how being proactive and volunteering your time can lead to new and exciting things.

I have always enjoyed volunteering and have had the opportunity to be involved in many fascinating projects both abroad and at home. During the summer of my second year at university a few friends and I traveled to Vietnam to help build a flood resistant home for a rural family. At the time I was studying Architecture at university and so the project was a fantastic insight into building construction. Primarily though, it was an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable experience during which I got to work alongside some amazing people and provide a family with a safe, dry home.

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Volunteering can often be hard work and time consuming, but experience has shown me that you normally get back as much as you give.

So, when the opportunity arose for me to work within a charitable organisation like Furniture Link I jumped at it. I am a keen believer in recycling and hate to see anything go to waste, which is why I believe Furniture Link to be such a worthy project as it makes a direct difference to reducing landfill and helping those in need. It is great fun waiting to see what fantastic new pieces of furniture are going to come in each day and even better seeing this furniture going off to a grateful new home.

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I have been at Furniture Link full time for just over a month now and feel I have been settling into the role well. I have enjoyed getting to know many of our regular customers and have found the constant supply of fresh new faces and furniture fun and engaging. My fantastic team of volunteers and the friendly staff in the office have gone out of their way to help me land on my feet. I feel I am finally starting to get my teeth into the role and am looking forward to bringing lots of energy and ideas to the project.

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I also hope to have an internet cafe up and running as soon as possible and would like to increase the amount of furniture being up-cycled. We are in desperate need of volunteers who are good with a paintbrush to help with the up-cycling and are always looking for anyone feeling strong who would be able to help out on the van. Volunteering at Furniture Link offers fantastic experience and training opportunities, such as the upcoming customer service training which all volunteers are welcome to attend and provides a great addition to any CV.

If you’d like to come and join our team here at Furniture Link, please feel free to give me a ring on 01462 683800 or send me an enquiry through email on furniturelink@nhcvs.org.uk.

Remember to ‘like’ us on Facebook to keep up to date with all the current stock and latest offers.

Whether you are on benefits or not, our furniture is incredible value for money, so it’s always worth coming in for a look! We are open between 11am-5pm Wednesday to Friday and 11am-3pm on a Saturday, I hope to see you all down here soon!

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