Cambridgeshire housing association and social enterprise, CHS Group, are delighted to have made a successful application to the Big Lottery Building Communities fund.

Gerry Cano, Timebank Project Manager said “Timebanking provides a way for local people to come together to help others and help themselves at the same time. Participants ‘deposit’ their time in the bank by giving practical help and support to others and are able to ‘withdraw’ their time when they need something done themselves. So, one hour of time given gains you one hour of ‘credit’. We are very grateful to HM Government and to National Lottery players for this award. 

“Over the past 5 years our Timebanks in Cambourne and Littleport & Ely have been tapping into the resources in their communities and harnessing hidden skills and talents for the benefit of all involved. These monies will enable us to continue running our Timebanks and will help us increase our impact by allowing us to increase the number of older people involved, strengthen our befriending scheme, increase the number of volunteer hours in both communities and provide support to 3 more communities wanting to develop Timebanks”.

Rasha Lulua got in touch with Cambourne Timebank to ask if we could arrange a visitor to spend time with her mother. Mariam has dementia and mobility problems and rarely leaves the house. She has carers to help her get up in the morning and her husband and daughter care for her the rest of the time but she was getting lonely when they were working and she wanted someone to talk to. Renata Dory, pictured left with Mariam, has been visiting Mariam for an hour once every 2 weeks since October for a chat. Mariam is very happy to see Renata and welcomes her in her native Arabic saying ‘you are the light of my eyes’.  Rasha is pleased that her mother is having company and variety in her routine. They talk about Mariam’s children and grandchildren, music and how she used to teach Arabic.

Renata said “Working with the Timebank in order to help people who genuinely need support, is one of the most enjoyable things I can imagine spending my free time doing. Visiting Mariam for just a bit of chit chat lights up her day and that lights up mine too. I’m fortunate to have a community that is engaged with such a compassionate volunteer base.”