Made Open, in partnership with Torbay Community Development Trust, are launching a new online platform in the new year that enables people to earn credits by helping others in their community.
‘Torbay Together” will help 27 community locations across the region – enabling local people to offer help to their fellow citizens and request help when they need it. Supported by the Ageing Well Torbay programme, this new platform will help the Trust to support any local person over the age of 50 to reconnect with their local community and meet new friends.
Unable to find a digital platform on the market that met their requirements, Torbay Community Development Trust approached Made Open to see if their online community platform could be adapted to support their timebanking service. We already had similar plans and a partnership between the two organisations was formed.
Director of Made Open, Robert Woolf says, “Our approach to the development of our platform is open and collaborative, which means our clients are able to add new features and licence the product without investing in major development costs. For Torbay Community Development Trust, this approach has allowed them to co-design a new online timebanking platform that far exceeds what they are currently able to buy on the market.”
Timebanking is a time-based currency where everyone contributes equally – one hour equalling one credit. As Simon Sherbersky, project leader at Torbay Community Developmenmt Trust, explains, “We work in a strengths based way where we focus on what communities have to offer rather than focusing on their problems or needs. Timebanking is a great way to support older people with a range of health and care needs by incentivising those who can help them with time credits. We have over 260 timebank members and this platform provides us with the means to significantly increase that number.”
This project has already attracted interest locally, nationally and even further afield from Australia with many organisations looking for innovative ways to increase volunteering capacity and incentivise local people to provide services within their community. Exeter Council for Voluntary Service joined this partnership in the early design stages and have also supported new developments – enabling organisations to specify volunteering opportunities and the skills they are looking for in more detail.
This project gives all of the communities in Torbay and Exeter the means to exchange time and talents without real money changing hands. Now that’s something worth crediting.