Is there a charge?

No. No money changes hands. Sutton Shares is completely free.


Are all skills worth the same?

Yes, every hour is worth one hour’s credit.


What happens after I register?

Once you register and provide your references you will receive a Welcome Email (please add suttonshares@vcsutton.org.uk to your safe senders list or check your junk mail).

You will need to book into and attend a Members’ Training session that is part of the assessment process and will help you learn to use the time bank safely and effectively.

You must also provide two references who have known you longer than one year (add details to your online profile). Once you have completed the assessment process your account will be credited with 5 hours, just for joining!

You are not able to list offers/requests or contact other members until you have completed the full assessment and intake process.


I already volunteer for another cause.

Great! You can volunteer for local organisations AND participate in Sutton Shares. Typical activities in the timebank are not necessarily the ones you would find with local community organisations. It’s always great to be involved in your community in a variety of ways and with timebanking you can receive help or learn something new too!


How much time do I have to give?

As much or as little as you want. You decide what you want to offer and you decide when you’re available if someone wants your service. It may only be a couple of hours a month – or more or less.


I don’t need any help

Timebanking works best when people give and receive help – you could learn a new skill, gain some knowledge, or have a pair of extra hands to help you do a weekly chore.  Don’t forget, our Timebank Coordinator is here to help you come up with some ideas on what you could request: just give us a ring!


I don’t have any skills to offer

Yes you do! Timebanking recognises all the talents, experiences and knowledge people have. You might be a good listener and able to be company for someone for an hour or so. You might be able to help them do their gardening or put up shelves. Maybe you’re good at knitting or you can give someone a lift to an appointment. We are happy to help you identify what you can offer.


Can people who can’t earn timebank credits still get help?

Yes, they can use time donated by Sutton Shares members or earned on their behalf by their family and friends. However, it is important to remember that timebanking is about developing reciprocal services amongst participants, ultimately strengthening communities and rebuilding neighbourhoods. At the end of the day most people will find they have something to offer and can provide a service that is valued and needed by someone else.


Can I get help straight away?

Yes, all members can ask for help from day one. We ask that you try to put in as much as you take out and vice versa. Each member receives 5 credit hours just for completing the joining process! You are also able to earn additional credits by referring friends and family: for every 10 people who join who say you referred them, you will earn 5 credit hours.


I’m a bit worried about people I don’t know coming into my house.

We recognise this is a concern for many people so we’ve put several things in place to make timebanking as safe as possible. First, there are many exchanges that can happen elsewhere rather than in your own home. Second, by coming to our social events and drop-ins, you should have opportunities to meet other members face-to-face. Third, you can find out if someone has provided us with a DBS certificate by checking their permission group on the site, as well as checking a person’s feedback on their profile so you can see what others have said about a timebank member. Fourth, you could always arrange for a friend or family member to be present if you’ve arranged for a Sutton Shares member to come to your house – or ask us to arrange for another Sutton Shares member whom you’ve met to be present, and we’ll pay their time credits on your behalf.


Can anyone be a participant?

Yes, providing they accept that the primary aim of timebanking is to develop closer communities and are happy to complete the joining process and sign our Agreement. The idea of reciprocity is the driving force behind timebanking, so participants must be willing to both provide and receive services to enable everyone to have an active role within each project.

Sutton Shares is partnering with Sutton Centre for Independent Living & Learning (SCILL), Avenues Group and Sutton Mental Health Foundation to help residents with higher support needs to actively participate in Sutton Shares. This contributes to the ultimate goal of a timebank – that everyone is welcome to participate fully in their community. We do not discriminate against anyone and would consider all applicants 12 and over (12-15 years old must have parents’ engagement).


Doesn’t timebanking do people out of their jobs?

No it doesn’t. Sutton Shares will only provide help to individuals on an ad hoc basis and the intention is never to replace professionals. If you already pay a gardener, you can’t sack them to get your garden done using time credits instead, although you could ask someone to do additional gardening through Sutton Shares.

We have several small business owners who are members of Sutton Shares and who offer a proportion of their professional expertise for time credits. These entrepreneurs can find that paid business is stimulated from the contacts they make through the timebank.


Can timebanking help my business?

Probably. If you’d like to promote your business you can provide a certain amount of service or other asset/resource (say, massage) for a certain number of hours per month for time credits, introducing new people to what you do, charging thereafter. You can put limits on to how many or how often you accept requests from particular members so it works best for you.


Can organisations become part of the timebank?

Yes, we have partnered with Economy of Hours which is a timebank for organisations who trade their time, resources and assets in exactly the same way: 1 hour = 1 hour.  Individuals and organisations can trade skills, time and resources just as you would exchange with other members.