Donate your time and build a community

Hutt Timebank's Victoria Thompson (left) teaches Mayana Mahoney Hall to play the guitar.
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Hutt Timebank's Victoria Thompson (left) teaches Mayana Mahoney Hall to play the guitar.

Not having enough time is a complaint many people are familiar with, but not for those belonging to the Hutt Timebank.

The Timebank's popularity has grown in the Hutt, with 215 people signed up to donate their time.

Within a Timebank, people offer their time to others to help with any task and build up credits they can spend on other people's time.

Veteran volunteer and photographer Rachel Nankivel has been with the Timebank since mid-2015.

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"It's all about connections. I feel the more connections I make, the more sustainable my family is."

Nankivel's first time transaction was over ironing.

"I found someone who was willing to iron this basket of clothes. She was a really lovely women."

The basket of ironing cost her two and a quarter hours of her time and sparked her Timebank career.

She said last year, her partner was over in Ethiopia and she was a solo parent in charge of four children.

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Timebank members helped her out, providing soup when making dinner was a struggle and helping out with little things around the place.

Coordinator Kirsten Gendall said people asked for help with anything, from a hand in the garden to simple IT work.

"At the moment we've got an older woman who's just learning how to use email," Gendall said.

"We've also got people who teach. We've got a woman who's very knowledgeable in fermented foods - kimchi and sauerkraut."

The youngest member of the group was around 12, with the oldest in her early 80s.

Gendall has been the Timebank coordinator for the last four years. When she first joined up, there were around 30 members. That number has now swelled to 215.

"The broader picture is about people building relationships."

For example, Gendall said after the Kaikoura earthquake she noticed an upswing in the number of people undertaking exchanges with each other.

"When I asked people about this, it appears that the earthquake experience made them realise how important it is that they have good support networks and that there is a lot of value in knowing people in their community and knowing the kinds of skills that people have and are willing to share."

 - Stuff

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