Local volunteer scheme takes off across Bucks

Local organisations and volunteers are signing up to a thriving scheme run by Buckinghamshire County Council and national charity Spice who have joined up to thank volunteers and encourage more people to get involved in volunteering in Buckinghamshire using Time Credits.

For each hour given by a volunteer through a local organisation, they earn a Time Credit that can be spent on a wide range of exciting activities across Bucks, including Buckinghamshire Adult Learning short courses, shows at the Wycombe Swan, leisure centres across the county, badminton sessions, local quiz nights, room hire and much more.

Volunteers are earning Time Credits for activities that support older and vulnerable people in Bucks as the scheme is part of Prevention Matters, a partnership programme between Buckinghamshire County Council, the NHS, the district councils, and the local community and voluntary sector. It aims to support vulnerable adults, including older people, adults with disabilities, those with chronic health needs, and/or poor mental health. Volunteers have been getting involved in many ways, including driving or gardening, befriending, helping run local community activities such as lunch clubs.

David, who has been earning Time Credits for befriending for Bucks Mind, feels they encourage people to get involved in volunteering, as well as feeling more valued.

He says: “Spending Time Credits enables you to experience more things you would not think of doing, or might not be able to afford. I heard of the scheme through Bucks Mind, and have made one visit to the Wycombe Swan Theatre. I have also booked for 2 more shows in 2015.

“I also plan to go to the Amersham Museum, which I have never visited despite living in the area all my life. There are also numerous London venues that I may well visit, as I can use Time Credits for entry – a day at Lords is certainly appealing!

“It just seems a good scheme all round, because no money is involved – the donors of the creditsare doing their bit for the community too,and the volunteer feels rewarded.”

Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing Patricia Birchley said: “This scheme is supporting activities that help older people live well in their own homes in Bucks, which is especially important as we have an ageing population in much of the county”.

David Russell, Head of Health and Social Care at Spice, said: “We’re really excited by the growth of Time Credits in Buckinghamshire and the opportunities for people to get involved in such a wide range of activities to support older people and promote good health and wellbeing. We look forward to many more groups and individuals coming on board.”

To find out more about how you can earn Time Credits, or how your organisation might use them, please contact Deborah McLean-Thorne, Buckinghamshire Time Credits Facilitator, on 07429 436860 or deborahmclean-thorne@justaddspice.org