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New community Timebank launches in South Leeds to boost wellbeing


A new community mental health and wellbeing network for organisations working in South Leeds launches this week at the Beeston Festival. The network will bring together businesses, charities and services to share resources and skills for the benefit of South Leeds community.

Tahena Ahmed of Asha Neighbourhood Project at the South Leeds Shares afternoon tea event

South Leeds Shares, which has been established by a range of partners including Leeds Beckett University, Hamara, Health for All, Business in the Community, The Tetley and Leeds City Council, is an exchange network supported by Timebanking UK.  The initiative aims to promote greater levels of joint working between different sectors as a means of supporting mental health and wellbeing in the area. 

South Leeds Shares will be officially launched at the Beeston Festival on Saturday 15 July. Partners involved in the initiative will have a stand at the Festival to share details and ideas with the community. 

The project is being funded through Leeds Fund: Strategic Grants in association with Asda Foundation. South Leeds Shares Timebanking model encourages members to exchange ‘skills’, ‘space’ and ‘stuff’, without exchanging money, enabling all members, whether they be third sector organisations or large companies, to collaborate equally and contribute to the improved mental health and wellbeing of South Leeds. 

For every hour, or equivalent time deposited into the Timebank, the contributor receives a time credit. Credits can then be used to buy support from other members of the bank when needed. For example, a solicitor could provide legal advice to a charity and use the credits they have amassed for a staff development session on mental health delivered by another local charity.

Tina Turnbull – People Matters - and Karen Beckford - Business in the Community
Tina Turnbull, Chief Executive of People Matters, and Karen Beckford, Business Connector at Business in the Community, at the South Leeds Shares pre-launch afternoon tea event earlier this month

Habib Khan, Manager at Hamara Healthy Living Centre in Beeston, explained: “The principle of a ‘mutually beneficial exchange’ means that third sector organisations who are cash-poor but asset-rich can engage in the network at an equal level to large commercial organisations. We have an abundance of wealth in our South Leeds community and we believe that we should be using what we have in more creative ways, recognising the value that anyone can bring. 

“At Hamara, we look forward to hearing everyone’s ideas, working in partnership to support those in need in South Leeds and establishing a sustainable community-led resource.” 

Karl Witty, Team Lead for Community Partnership in the School of Health and Community Studies at Leeds Beckett University, said: “The new project allows us as a University to assist with the development and delivery of mental health and wellbeing work in the city whilst also cultivating relationships which will support delivery of our research and teaching. 

“Mental health and wellbeing is informed by a multitude of factors and, in turn, informs physical health, relationships, work and other aspects of everyday life.  Mental Health is therefore the concern of everyone across society, not just those who work within the mental health field.  Recognising this shared responsibility, South Leeds Shares provides a resource which enables organisations to support the promotion of resilience in the South Leeds community, without compromising their core organisational aims and objectives.”

Sara Cooper - South Leeds live at home scheme
Sara Cooper - South Leeds Live at Home Scheme

Rachel Vernelle, Deputy Manager, Healthy Communities, at Health for All, said: “Health for All is fully supporting South Leeds Shares and the principles of partnership working that lie behind it.  We believe that sharing resources helps to build relationships and trust between organisations.  We are excited at the prospect of organisations in South Leeds working together to make our resources go further.” 

Malcolm Hall, Trustee of Special Needs and Parent Support Yorkshire (SNAPS) charity, added: “Since September 2015, I have had the privilege of working closely with community organisations and businesses based in South Leeds. The importance of collaboration, cooperation and particularly connection, have been constant themes throughout my work and have proven to be the key foundation for improvement and change. South Leeds Shares is a mechanism to raise awareness of what is already going on within the South Leeds community, to bring organisations together who are already contributing great things and to build on those foundations using a mechanism that makes connections and collaboration much more practical. I am really pleased to be part of the project and am looking forward to witnessing some really progressive results.” 

The idea stems from research led by Professor Jane South at Leeds Beckett University, published by Public Health England and NHS England, which examined the importance of communities to the improvement of health and wellbeing in the UK. Professor South’s report highlighted Timebanking as a way of empowering communities to make change.

Top image: Tahena Ahmed - Asha Neighbourhood Project

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