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Time Credits for volunteers chopped

A decision to end the use of Time Credits to reward volunteers at Lynn’s Red Mount and South Gates has upset a stalwart steward.

The bad news was broken to the 30-odd volunteers at a meeting held at Stories of Lynn on Thursday of last week.

But leading volunteer Edith Reeves said: “I think it’s outrageous. All it will save is a pathetic £1,500.”

The national Time Credits scheme gives participants vouchers for every bit of volunteering they undertake.

The credits can then be exchanged for use of facilities. Tickets at the Corn Exchange, use of LynnSport, or St James’ Pool, Paint Me Ceramics at Hunstanton or treatments at the beauty school at the College of West Anglia are just some of the places advertised on the website as accepting the credits in lieu of payment.

Mrs Reeves said that she knew of three volunteers who have said they intend to drop out of the stewarding scheme because of the decision.

She said: “What with the Shakespeare project, which is just getting going, everything in this town is about heritage and yet they have cut-back on the need to recognise the volunteers.”

Red Mount, Lynn, The Walks
Red Mount, Lynn, The Walks

A spokeswoman for West Norfolk Council said that the borough still supported the Time Credits initiative.

But the group organising volunteers for Lynn’s ancient monuments had signed up to be a Time Credit partner, buying 1,000 credits annually at a cost of £1,500 through its budget.

It was it that had decided not to renew membership of the programme because take up of the credits was minimal and the scheme did not encourage additional volunteers to come forward.

It had found many volunteers did not collect the time credits they had earned or gave theirs away. The spokeswoman said this may have been because the places where they can be spent locally was too low.

Since the meeting only two responses have been received, so the membership was ended.

But Mrs Reeves said that a lot of the volunteers did not know that they could do as she did and pass on the Time Credits to good causes. She said she gave her to a day centre for those with special needs in Lynn “and they loved them”.

The Red Mount in The Walks and the South Gate, London Road, opens mid-May-September, three days a week

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