St. Ann’s Bay time bank re­ceives big de­posit

The Victoria Standard - - Front Page - CAROLYN BAR­BER

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.”

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