TimeBank Volunteer Newsletter – January 2021

Julia Shipston Julia Shipston

Shoulder to Shoulder Online, our unique online mentoring project for vulnerable ex-Service men and women in Scotland, has had a significant impact on their lives and wellbeing, says an external evaluation by research consultancy The Lines Between.

TimeBank has delivered face-to-face mentoring for ex-Servicemen, women and families in Scotland for more than six years – supporting those who are struggling to adjust to civilian life and reducing their social and economic isolation. We wanted to test the effectiveness of online mentoring and thanks to funding from Forces in Mind Trust, were able to develop and evaluate an 18-month pilot which began before the Covid-19 pandemic but continued throughout the period.   

The evaluation found that online mentoring helped veterans establish stability and routine and achieve positive change with 80% of participants reporting an improvement in their emotional wellbeing. Mentoring sessions were found to be vital in reducing isolation during lockdown, when much face-to-face support was unavailable. Take a look at the video we produced.

TimeBank partners with SSAFA to integrate veterans’ mentoring projects

We have received a grant from the Forces in Mind Trust to work with SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, to explore how the learning and practice from Shoulder to Shoulder can be incorporated into the SSAFA mentoring programme, which works alongside the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the British Army, the Royal Air Force and other key partners.

TimeBank chief executive Phil Pyatt said: “This is what TimeBank is all about – trying out new ideas about volunteering and developing them into successful projects.  The huge success of Shoulder to Shoulder has demonstrated the tremendous contribution that volunteers can make.  Now it’s time to share our learning and expertise to take it to the next level and consolidate it into wider veterans’ support services in Scotland.”

Join us as a TimeBank Trustee 

Are you aged 18-30 and looking for a trustee role? TimeBank is a brilliant volunteering charity and we would love to hear from you, especially if you are from an ethnic minority background, as we want our Board to reflect the diverse communities we work with.

We have built a first-class reputation for volunteer-led social action projects for over 20 years, while our employee volunteering is valued for its professionalism and flexibility. If you’d like to know more, take a look here.

We’re sad to be saying goodbye to our chair for the last three years, Peter Beeby. We’ve benefitted greatly from his enthusiasm, commitment and skills ever since 2013 when he joined us as a trustee. Do read his blog  where he describes how being a trustee has been a life-enhancing experience. We’re delighted that our trustee Stuart Crotaz has stepped up to become our new chair.

Supporting isolated older people 

We’re delighted that so many companies still want to engage their staff in volunteering and one of our most popular opportunities is Techy Tea Parties. Volunteers use Zoom to connect with isolated older people and help them access and use their smart phones, tablets and laptops, enabling them to keep in touch with family and friends during lockdown. If you’d like more information about employee volunteering, do get in touch: [email protected]  

Take a look at our annual report

Our new annual report, covering the period 2019-2020, is now available to download from our website It contains some impressive statistics. During the year we recruited 811 volunteers across our projects who gave an amazing 7,772 hours to support 1,830 beneficiaries. Take a look to see some of their stories.

Delivering change in their community

We are working with Action for Stammering Children (ASC) on a new project for young people that is supporting them to plan, design and deliver a social action project in Islington. They’re currently putting together a campaign that will debunk misconceptions about stammering, working with a graphic designer to create social media content. They’ll also be sending videos and resources to local schools.

Offering online support

Since lockdown began last March, we’ve been looking for ways to continue to support our former Talking Together English language learners from a distance. Our Tell Us project combined informal ESOL sessions with workshops discussing mental and physical wellbeing.

We trained former Talking Together volunteers to use Zoom to lead these sessions and partnered with some of our delivery partners, grassroots organisations in Ealing, Tower Hamlets and Enfield. They promoted the sessions to their ESOL learners and crucially, helped them get online where necessary. Another aim of the project was to ensure that Covid-19 messages were reaching the communities we work with. For those with limited English, changing Government guidelines and complex rules can be confusing so we wanted to simplify these and share translated guidance where possible. 

Our colleague Calley managed the project and wrote about how our volunteers went the extra mile to make sure the Zoom sessions were informal, friendly, and supportive.

Keep in touch!

We really value the huge contribution our wonderful volunteers make and we’ll keep you in touch with developments over the coming weeks. Sign up to our newsletter or follow our news at www.timebank.org.uk or find us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. 

All best wishes from the TimeBank team.   

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