Giving back to the community – an hour of hope and resilience for volunteers
Our communities are facing many challenges – a growing and ageing population, an increase in the cost of providing care, and uncertain economic prosperity. The policy responses to these challenges emphasise the importance of connected communities, inter-agency working, locally based support, prevention, and the foundation economy.
The last few years were like no other in our lifetime and their legacy will remain with us for a long time. COVID-19 changed the way life operates: more home working and disconnected social networks. There was a massive, if short-lived upsurge in volunteering, by people that previously commuted. This balanced the reduction in volunteering by older and more physically vulnerable people (Management Centre 2022).
Much of the volunteering was in micro and mutual aid organisations, who stay outside the more formal volunteering community. Without them, many vulnerable people would not have coped with the pandemic.
At Tempo we are proud to support this bottom-up volunteering with local charities. Tempo Time Credits support more people into volunteering, developing confidence and increasing skills alongside building more connected and cohesive communities.
There are many challenges now faced by the most vulnerable in our society with increases in energy, fuel, and food prices. It is these people, under extreme pressure, who can benefit most from volunteering and using Tempo Time Credits. Our national network provides opportunities for the many to get involved. Our team at Tempo work with community organisations and grass roots groups to build capacity and support them to diversify their volunteer base, creating new opportunities to engage the many.
Success in Wales
One of the key areas in our network is Wales. Across the region, more than 52,000 Time Credits have been earned by volunteers giving their time to their local community, service, or organisation.
Our Recognition Partner Network is made up of local businesses and provides a wide range of opportunities for volunteers to redeem their Time Credits against. This can be anything from shows at Wales Millennium Centre, tickets for the rugby at Parc Y Scarlets, a visit to Anglesea Sea Zoo or entry to the local soft play.
Time Credits enable volunteers the opportunity to access activities and experiences that they may otherwise not afford. Many parents rely on Tempo Time Credits to enable them to spend quality time with their children. Earning Time Credits means that they can continue to take their children to activities that support their wellbeing and development.
Asha Signh, a parent with ‘low income’ from Penarth, describes how she uses her Time Credits to go swimming at the local leisure centre.
Without these, she says I wouldn’t have been able to afford this. Time Credits mean that I can stay healthy and fit.
Our Recognition Partners value the opportunity to support their local community. For many, Time Credits enable them to engage with new audiences and communities.
Tempo develops unique partnerships co-designed with the Recognition Partner to support their business objectives. This supports our wish to break down barriers with elitism, racism, sexism and ageism. Each business designs its own offer either during their quieter opening hours or at their busiest when a few extra customers won’t impact the bottom line.
In our 2022 Impact Survey 73% of volunteers could afford to do more things by earning and using Tempo Time Credits. In times of austerity, it’s the activities and experiences that maintain our health and wellbeing that often go first. With the cost-of-living crisis and the impacts of increased bills and food prices, many people have a reduced budget and will no longer be able to afford these activities.
By earning and using Tempo Time Credits they can still choose to participate in a wide range of activities that support their health and wellbeing, building resilience and maintaining hope.
Tempo Time Credits has positive impact. Our 2022 survey of our volunteers showed:
- 93% feel they are contributing to their community
- 84% feel more positive about the future
- 83% improved mental health
- 81% feel less lonely and isolated
- 57% said Time Credits helped them get a job
Tempo provides the glue which binds local voluntary partnerships and community-based solutions together. Providing a digital time credit system that recognises and rewards volunteers for the hours they give. Volunteers build a time credit bank they can use on local or national activities.
Time Credits value everyone’s time equally, whether given formally or informally, and lead to changes in aspiration and confidence. This enables people to engage with systems in different ways (and often for the first time), providing a tool for professionals to tap into the assets of communities. Time Credits enable concepts such as asset-based community development to become a tangible part of service delivery. It supports organisations to engage the many and find new ways of engaging people who would not normally get involved!
These volunteers also support much needed services such as food and hygiene banks that are helping the most vulnerable across our communities. Tempo Time Credits help to recruit and retain more volunteers that share the workload across these essential services.
Through one individual earning Time Credits, others can benefit. By gifting time credits and or sharing with family and friends, family and group activities can be brilliant for everyone.
Mrs NS from Wrexham describes how her ‘children benefited from experiences’ they were able to access via Time Credits that otherwise they would not have been ‘able to afford’. Mrs NS also spoke about being able to use her Time Credits in way that enabled her to buy educational materials through buying ‘book tokens’ for her children.
Mrs NS said
From time to-time, a pick me up and a treat gives us all a well-deserved boost. I used Time Credits to get a ‘Greggs’ and a ‘Costa Coffee’ for myself. Whilst these are simple treats in life, they nevertheless can be a great boost for all of us and are not necessarily affordable for all as they can be quite dear. Time credits have thus been integral in bringing benefits to my entire family.
Partnering with Tempo Time Credits can bring huge benefits to local communities, building resilience and support mechanisms that really work. They allow organisations to tap into local knowledge and experience to ensure local services are able deliver on their objectives.
Talk to the Tempo team about how we can help your organisation drive engagement in the services you offer or read more about becoming a commissioner.