A West Norfolk volunteering programme is going from strength to strength as it celebrates its second birthday, officials have claimed.
Borough mayor Elizabeth Watson welcomed staff and volunteers who are involved in the Time Credits initiative to an anniversary celebration held at Lynn’s Town Hall last Tuesday.
The programme gives people credits for the time they give voluntarily to recognised community projects, which can be used to access leisure facilities or educational courses.
Since its launch in February 2012, the scheme has become one of the largest of its kind in England, with more than 1100 volunteers and 50 organisations taking part.
Members support a wide range of projects, including school reading and renovation schemes, cookery, sport and community transport programmes.
And 27 businesses and groups provide activities where credits can be used.
Becky Booth, chief executive of Spice who run the initiative on behalf of the West Norfolk Partnership, thanked volunteers alongside Ian Burbidge, of the borough council.
She said she was “very proud” of how the project had developed.
She added new initiatives will be launched including a Time Credits note featuring some of the borough’s iconic landmarks and a new website to enable people to use their credits electronically.
A survey commissioned by Spice has also revealed that more than a third of people who have taken part in the programme had not previously volunteered before and another 32 per cent had only done so occasionally, while almost two-thirds reported a positive impact on their own lives.
Elizabeth Nockolds, West Norfolk Council cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Thanks to everyone’s efforts, we’ve seen some tremendous improvements and greater local participation.
“The programme is simple yet extremely effective. It taps into and values unrealised talent and skill, improving individual wellbeing and building stronger, more connected communities in the process.”