WEST NORFOLK: Time Credits scheme marks first birthday
A scheme which offers West Norfolk residents free time for leisure and training activities in return for voluntary work has celebrated its first anniversary this week.
According to organisers, more than 600 people have taken part in the West Norfolk Time Credits programme in its first year – giving around 9,000 hours of their time to community projects in the process.
And officials from the West Norfolk Partnership, who run the project in conjunction with Spice Innovations, hope that more volunteers and organisations will be inspired to sign up in the months ahead.
West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney, who also chairs the partnership, said: “It is really quite impressive how far this scheme has come in a year.
“I think its success lies in the fact that it is such an empowering project, which has a long-term positive impact on the individuals who give their time and the wider community.
“Because communities can identify projects that matter to them, it puts them at the centre of the process and encourages much greater engagement.”
Participants are given a credit for every hour of time they give to a community project, which can then be spent on leisure activities, events or training opportunities.
Volunteer Peter Thompson, who is a member of the programme through the Norfolk Credit Union Community Bank, said taking part had enabled him to take up leisure activities he could not otherwise have afforded.
“It gave me something to feel valued about”, he said.
“I’m even taking my son to watch a football match – like I did with my dad at the same age.”
A total of 24 venues have now signed up to allow participants to use their credits, the latest being the Lynn Arts Centre. Mr Daubney thanked them for their support.
Currently, 34 groups offer volunteering opportunities through the programme.
Among the latest partners are the organisers of May’s Grand East Anglian Run (GEAR), who are inviting people to earn credits by volunteering at the race.
More information about the programme can be found online at www.west-norfolk.gov.uk/timecredits.
Meanwhile, anyone who has an idea for a project should contact credits facilitator Helen Gooding on 07429 369528.
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