Spice - Giving Time in Communities

Spice give a background on their work with local communities to unlock time and skills

Unlocking Local Assets – Giving Time in Communities

Spice work with local communities and services to unlock time and skills from the local community and to support people to give their time. We believe everyone has something to give and everyone’s time is equal. Find out more from Rosie Farrer, Head of Communities & Housing & Elly Townsend, Senior Project Manager: Business Development, Evaluation and Learning, about how Spice do this using their innovative Time Credit currency to enable great levels of giving, how they develop local networks to reach many more people, and the impact this is having across the country.

What are Time Credits?
People earn Time Credits by giving their time to local services e.g. youth clubs, sheltered housing schemes and community groups. One Time Credit is earned for each hour of time given and acts as a thank you for the contribution of time. People earn Time Credits in a wide range of ways, such as supporting or running community activities, sharing their skills, peer support and advocacy.
People then spend Time Credits to access events, training and leisure activities provided by public, community and private organisations, or to thank others in turn. Spending activities are contributed by local attractions and businesses, or put on by organisations using Time Credits or individuals who earn them. They include physical activity such as swimming, gym use or walking groups, theatre shows, sports events, training courses and social activities such as community coffee mornings or trips and outings. Our network includes fantastic places like the Tower of London, Blackpool Tower, Fusion Leisure Centres as well as lots of smaller businesses. Spending Time Credits enables people to access this wide range of activities they may not be able to otherwise.

Building local Time Credit networks
Spice are commissioned by organisations who want to build Time Credits into their work and unlock local community assets. We work with all sorts of organisations from local authorities, housing associations and social care service providers, through to community development organisations and schools.

We work with each lead partner organisation to set local priorities for every programme; how do they want to use Time Credits? What do they want to achieve? Who are they trying to involve and where? Once we are clear on this we can then start to build a local network of people using the Time Credits currency. With the lead partner we sign up local groups and organisations and we support them to change the way they work with people and communities. This might be running a co-design workshop in a local mental health service to develop ways for service users to earn and spend Time Credits, or helping a volunteer run gardening group to think of things they could do to bring more people in and support their local community. We also sign up the places to spend Time Credits in the local area; for local businesses this is an opportunity to engage with new audiences (Find out more here). The Time Credit Network includes a diverse range of private, statutory and third sector organisations working together to change things for the better. Time Credits are the tool that makes this all happen!

Impact of our work
So what is the point of all of this? Spice recently completed an evaluation of our programmes of work in England and Wales by independent evaluators Apteligen. It showed that Time Credits are having a profound impact in several areas:












The full report and executive summary can be accessed at www.justaddspice.org

What next for Time Credits?
We now know that giving time with Time Credits can help people to be more active, lead healthier lives, and remain independent for longer, supporting improved wellbeing and prevention of ill-health. There is a huge potential for Time Credit programmes to impact on the future demand for health and social care services, both by making people more active and healthier and building more community support for people who have ill health.

It’s well established that connecting people with their communities helps to build social capital and tackle issues of poor health that we know are associated with isolation and loneliness. Giving of time with Time Credits help to make this aspiration a reality by involving communities and people in the design and delivery of services and getting people involved in their communities. This presents a huge opportunity to transform the way that services are delivered, moving from delivering to communities, to delivering with communities. This also gives us the opportunity to improve the quality of provision resulting in improved health outcomes over the longer term.

Spice is delivering meaningful change already in our projects. We’d always like to do more, so if you’ve got a great idea for Time Credits or you’d like to talk more about how they might work in your organisation to unlock your local assets and enable people to give time locally do get in touch with elly@justaddspice.org or rosie@justaddspice.org.  We are always interested in having a chat!