A carers job can be 24/7. Often there isn’t time to complete odd jobs around the home, run errands or do those jobs you just keep putting off as your caring role takes priority.
But with the Timeswap scheme you can get help to do those jobs and in return offer your own skills, hobbies and interests to help out others.
As a carer you’re probably thinking ‘I don’t have any free time to help anyone else’ or ‘the person I care for cannot be left at home alone’. That's understandable, but Timeswap is flexible and you can offer your time in return by doing something that suits and fits around you. You can offer all sorts of things….. the list is endless.
How Timeswap works
Timeswap is coordinated by Derbyshire County Council with help from voluntary groups around the county.
The scheme works by offering skills you have, or hobbies you enjoy doing, to other Timeswap members who need a bit of help. Doing this will earn you ‘time’.
The ‘time’ you have earned can be used to ask other members to support you with tasks that can help in your caring role or generally. You get an hour free when you join to get you started.
Examples of help you can get from other Timeswap members:
- Someone to come and chat / play cards or games with the person you care for to give you a bit of free time to complete other tasks or get a break
- DIY, gardening and help around the home
- Learning or developing a skill or hobby
- Someone to run errands for you such as shopping
- Opportunities to socialise and make new friends
- Someone to walk your dog for you
- And any other things that you might benefit from help with
Examples of things you can offer:
- Sewing or knitting
- Baking or cooking
- Teaching someone else a new skill
- Helping someone to write letters or other correspondence
- Giving someone a lift to an appointment
- Sharing your knowledge and giving support to others (i.e legal knowledge or how services, funding and eligibility processes work)
The latest Timeswap newsletter will give you a good idea of the type of things people swap through the scheme.
Lynn’s Timeswap story
Lynn lives in Ilkeston and has been the main carer for her husband John for over 20 years. John has physical problems and also struggles with mental health issues, so Lynn has to help him get around and complete every day activities.
Lynn is a long standing Timeswap member and mainly offers knitting to the Timeswap scheme, as this is something she can do from home without leaving John and her caring role.
In return for the ‘time’ Lynn has banked by helping others, she has received support back from other Timeswap members. She has received lifts to the tip to get rid of rubbish and Timeswap members are building raised flowerbeds in Lynn and John's garden so they can both enjoy being in the garden in the summer.
Lynn has found that getting 'time' back from Timeswap has really helped her with tasks she cannot manage herself as well as improving quality of life for both herself and John.
The Timeswap scheme has helped Lynn’s make new friends and become part of a group, all while giving back to the community. She offers her skills and help with things such as knitting twiddle muffs for people with Dementia and cuddly toys to raise money for different charities.
Lynn has also been able to develop her knitting skills and learn from others by being part of the knitting group. As well as it having a positive effect on her caring role, Timeswap has also given her the chance to have a break and enjoy her own hobbies and interests. This helps to make her feel ‘more than just a carer’.
Timeswap has also provided opportunities for John. Every month a newletter is sent out to Timeswap members with a list of what people want help with. Lynn noticed in the newsletter that a Timeswap member wanted someone to come to play dominoes with them. Lynn saw this as a great opportunity for both John and herself. It helped someone else out by giving them a dominoes partner, but was also great for John as he really enjoys playing and has made a new friend.
Picture: Lynn (front) is pictured with Jessie from her knitting group.
Find out more about Timeswap
You can find out more about Timeswap on the Derbyshire County Council website, or ring one of the Timeswap Project Officers for a chat on tel: 01629 532049. Or you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Timeswap Project officers run information sessions where you can drop-in and talk to the officers and other members of the scheme. The next planned drop-in sessions are:
- South Normanton - Tuesday 27 Feb, 10am to 12pm at South Normanton Library, The hub
- Ilkeston - Mondays 19 Mar, 23 Apr, 21 May from 11am to noon at Ilkeston Library
- Long Eaton - Thursdays 22 Mar, 26 Apr, 24 May from 1pm to 2pm at Long Eaton Library
- Ashbourne - Wednesday 28 Feb from 1pm to 2pm at Ashbourne Library
More sessions will be planned in the near future. Why not contact the officers to see when they are coming to a venue near you?
Joining Timeswap is easy, you can sign up online. To help keep people safe all Timeswap members have to provide two references before they can join the scheme. Your referees can be friends, family members, employers or a health professional who has known you two years. the scheme is all about helping people build relationships and meet people in their community so the scheme does work on trust.