In the event you missed the article in the Newburyport Current about the Time Trade Network, here it is along with some photos that we took to illustrate it.
By Carol Feingold / firstname.lastname@example.org
January 22. 2016 10:45AM
Time Trade Network of Greater Newburyport holds info session Jan. 23
You have a hankering for freshly baked bread, need help organizing your home, or need a ride. Who you gonna call? Unless, you have a haunted house in your neighborhood, Ghostbusters aren’t going to help you out, but the Time Trade Network of Greater Newburyport will.
TTNGN is a network of individuals in the community who exchange their skills and services based on time. Every hour of service given is worth an hour in return from another network member.
The concept is simple. Time banking is the exchange of skills and services between members based on time. Unlike volunteering, time banking is about developing reciprocal relationships within the community. Unlike receiving charity, when you receive service through TTNGN, you or another member worked for the Time Credit you are now spending.
“Time banking started decades ago,” said Elizabeth Marcus, chairman of the TTNGN board of directors. In 1980, Edgar Cahn created TimeBanking, which he first called service credits, as a medium of exchange that would act as a way to encourage and reward the work needed to build strong, resilient communities.
“Ronald Reagan was withdrawing funding for social programs,” Cahn said. “They were closing down. I thought that if there was going to be no more of the old money to support communities, we should create a new one.” The service credits were later named Time Dollars, and later still they took on other names as well, such as time credits and timebank hours.
“I heard about it 10 years ago,” Marcus said, “and six years ago there was a group out of Lynn, Time Exchange of the North Shore (TEN). I joined with a number of friends but we found Lynn is a long way to go – an hour to get there, an hour there, and an hour back. It’s just wasn’t practical. We needed to get something going here.”
They started meeting in 2012, and by the summer of 2014 they were up and running with a pilot program. TTNGN officially launched in October 2014.
Time banking is not bartering because time banking exchanges are made within a network rather than one-to-one, services are not assigned monetary value, and exchanges are made in good faith and are not legally binding.
For every hour of service provided to another TTNGN member you earn one Time Credit (TC), she said. Time Credits are a community currency that members earn by using their time, energy, skills and talents to help each other. Through exchanging services, members create new neighborhood networks and strengthen our community, helping each other in ways that family and neighbors have traditionally done.
You, the member, can spend your TCs on any number of services, Marcus said. It’s your choice. It’s your time. You can even save up TCs for future use. Member information and TCs are managed using an online system.
“We have 72 members right now,” she said, “and they all have accounts in the computer-based exchange system. Once you open an account you find out who the other members are and what services they provide. You write in a little bio and what services you can provide and what services you are looking for. Each new member adds to the diversity of services provided.”
Some of the services offered or received by TTNGN members include car rides to the airport or doctor visits, budget preparation, massage, pet care, shopping and errands, graphic design, interior house painting, mending and alterations, computer help, web design, garden and yard work, cooking, cleaning, translating, companion/caregiver, photography, event planning, and catering.
“There are quarterly meetings for members. You often don’t think of yourself as having a particular skill until someone asks for it,” Marcus said. “There was a woman leaving town, who needed someone to take care of her cat. By the end of the meeting, she had three people to cover her absence and feed her cat.
“It’s the reciprocity. We have about 35 exchanges a month. It’s about getting people in the habit of giving and receiving as part of normal living in the community and encouraging people to ask for help.”
Needs can be very unusual and specific.
“Last year I was telling someone about the network,” Marcus said. “She loved the idea, but didn’t think she had any skills to offer. We talked and she said ‘I do know a lot about turtles. I could take care of someone’s turtles, but no one is going to need that.’ She didn’t join, but about six months later somebody requested someone to take care of their turtles while they were away on vacation. You never know.”
TTNGN holds information sessions for people to find out more about how time banking works. If you join, the hours spent at the session are credited to your timebank account. The cost of joining is a $25 contribution or two hours of service.
“I do a lot of information sessions,” Marcus said. “At one someone said, ‘I don’t do much, but I can bake bread.’ I love bread. I ended up with two loaves of challah and it was delicious.”
WHAT: Time Trade Network of Greater Newburyport information session
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 23, 10 a.m.
WHERE: Central Congregational Church, Newburyport