Banking on peer support

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“Time Banking is only successful because of peer support. Each member of the time bank inevitably helps another in one way or another at different times, it’s about sharing knowledge, learning and skills exchange,” says Roz McCarthy, Co-ordinator of  Time Bank, Lambeth South Central.

“It took peer support to get people out and on the road  to improving their mental health and well being when we organised a walk talk event.  Time bank members supported each other and shared knowledge on the area, the surrounding nature and the best places to go.  Together they worked through the 5 ways to well being based on what each person experienced on the walk.  This proved to be a great tool to facilitate well being as each person felt that the walk had made a difference to them.  Some said ‘I would never have come if so and so did not invite me.  I don’t do walks, I am glad I came, it was a great day out and when is the next one?’.” Below a member shares their story.

 

Time bank is not a service that has an exit date like other services within Lambeth

 “It is a very unique service.  You are not just a number but a person and this has restored my confidence and self esteem.  Three years ago I saw myself as a waste of space, today I see myself as a wonderful individual. And I will continue to be a part of the Time Bank.

“The peer support from time bank members was great I was able to socialise with people that had issues around mental health. One of the main things at that time was that it provided an out of hour’s service,  such as Friday night Social, as well as some weekend events which is when I was at my lowest.  Within a few months I had a network of new friends that supported me and I started managing my days and weekends much better

“One of my main areas was that I never went out.  I had worked all my life and was faced with staying at home with an illness I could not begin to understand.  Early intervention from Time Bank staff and the introduction to individual time bank members made all the difference. I felt more supported by people that understood me.

“I found myself doing general tasks, from office work to contacting other time bank members asking them how they were doing and what support they may need.   I was able to go to seminars and do presentations about my involvement with time bank as a service user who had some peer support and the benefits that this provided. I liked tea and chat as this was an opportunity to meet my peers and talk about our week, the support we needed or had had, and ways in which we could support each other through exchanging skills. While at time bank I was encouraged to set up and manage my own project  for various adults within my community. That gave me a sense of value and empowered me to have a voice.”

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