Christmas Message 2014

What do you call a timebank that listens to feedback?

sutton shares christmas logo…I’ll share the answer with you in a moment, but as it’s Christmas, I wanted to tell you briefly about all that we’ve achieved as Sutton Shares since it went from dream to reality.

2013 was all about giving our timebank the best start in life: plenty of big picture thinking and tons of admin hours to make sure that our fledgling movement – like all new babies – was cute to look at, well supported… and made a lot of noise.

2014 was when we continued to attract the attention of innovators and early adopters, people who believed in the concept of timebanking though we were still relatively small.

During the year, we carried out various Outreach in the community, speaking at Local Committee meetings, Residents Associations and faith groups, as well as appearing in different in-house magazines and periodicals… culminating in our story getting into the national paper, The Mail on Sunday.

We’ve received a lot of feedback and responded quickly to any concerns or niggles about the user experience: for example, we looked into how our sign-up process could be more inclusive towards people with disabilities, and we changed our system for reminding people about training so they were better informed.

We changed our newsletter so that it’s more concise, clear and frequent, and we’ve evolved our training so that it’s shorter but better at helping people identify their skills. We’ve also developed our policies and procedures around 12-18s so that young people who want to join are well safeguarded when participating. And we’ve helped other timebanks to start thriving in their set-up stages too.

We’ve maintained a steady growth, and 230 people have so far engaged with us, currently offering just over 100 offers and requests and with 30 of you regularly exchanging to build community. We’ve also quadrupled our following on Twitter over the year.

This is just the beginning.

In 2015, we will start using our newly-printed skills resource in training sessions, develop support resources so it’s easier for members to remember how to make listings and exchange, further expand our social marketing to really get the word out, and work more closely with our partners to ensure that everyone in Sutton is included and can benefit from the inherent value in our timebank.

We’ll also focus on getting businesses and organisations that utilise volunteers involved, so both they and individuals can benefit. We’ll work hard to create a calendar of social events on subjects that you really care about. And we’ll collaborate with individuals of some communities who would prefer to exchange more locally with neighbours.

Our biggest asset is not our ideas, our systems or our physical resources, but you. Sutton Shares needs you to grow into its exciting next phase. We need your ideas, your involvement and your ability to inspire others.

Which leads me back to my original question: What do you call a timebank which listens to feedback? Well…I’d just call it a community.

If there’s one thing you can do now to help grow our movement, it’s to respond to our quick survey about next year’s Social Event Calendar. It should only take 5 minutes, and it’ll help us no end!

Warm greetings, and a Merry Christmas – you’ll hear from me in the New Year!