St. Ann’s Bay time bank receives big deposit
The St. Ann’s Bay Time Bank received a $24, 575.00 deposit from the federally funded New Horizons for Seniors Program to assist the community in sharing that most precious of currencies – time.
Sean Tobin made the announcement on behalf of MP Sydney - Victoria Mark Eyking and Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Yves Duclos, at the March 13 St. Ann’s Bay Development Association (SABDA) Annual General Meeting. The time bank project launched last April with funding from the Age-friendly Communities Grant Program. 87 members have shared 400 hours of service since the bank opened.
“The time bank is unique because you get to say when you want to do something, and what you want to offer, or accept, as help. You have control, you have choice,” said St. Ann’s Bay time bank coordinator Patsy Leblanc, explaining the difference between giving time to a time bank versus volunteering for an organization.
A time bank’s primary mission is to strengthen community bonds. Members receive one time credit for each hour of service they provide. They can then redeem credits for help they need. Passing time with others doing life’s
simple activities like cooking, baking, playing cards, walking and visiting are all considered credit worthy offerings.
Most time bank projects keep track of time credits using a web-based application overseen by a coordinator.
“The time bank could sustain itself without the coordinator, but we're at such an early stage we want to make sure people know it exists and how it can benefit them. So, it really helps to have one,” said St. Ann’s Bay Time Bank advisory committee member Anne-claude Pepin. Pepin says a portion of the new funding will provide Leblanc with an assistant to help with the one-on-one training.
“We want to put more effort into one-on-one help to get seniors set up, to show them it's a very simple user-friendly application,” said Pepin.
If a time bank member is not computer literate, or does not own a computer, Leblanc can assign them a guardian a neighbor, a family member, or herself – to make arrangements for them by phone.
The new funding will also be directed at organizing group projects with communities surrounding St. Ann’s Bay. Plans are underway for three workshops to generate ideas for community projects. Over the past year, projects that required many hands became popular as they turned into social gatherings such as yard parties and lunches.
Leblanc says members of St. Ann’s Bay community have always been very giving of their time. The time bank helps remove the awkwardness or reservations people may have in asking for help.
“You put the request out there in cyberspace, and then people see it. If they accept it, that means they want to do it.”
Leblanc does not promote the time bank outside the St. Ann’s Bay community but people in adjacent communities are welcome to join if they don’t mind travelling the distance.
Organizations are encouraged to join as well. Alderwood Rest Home in Baddeck has signed on as an organization.
Leblanc often meets people who think they have neither the time nor the skills to participate in the time bank.
“It’s meant to be fun. And, it’s not meant to make you any busier. It's meant to be something you're doing already that can be shared with the community.”