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 Time Swap 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 Time Swap 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 Time Swap works
Time Swap 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 Time Swap 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.
There's no obligation - you can dip in and out of scheme and offer/receive as many hours as you like. There is no minimum amount of hours that you need to give or take.
Examples of help you can get from other Time Swap 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 set up and use social media or help with their website
- 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 Time Swap newsletters will give you a good idea of the type of things people are swapping in your area.
Lynn’s Time Swap 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 Time Swap member and mainly offers knitting to the Time Swap 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 Time Swap members. She has received lifts to the tip to get rid of rubbish and Time Swap members are building raised flowerbeds in Lynn and John's garden so they can both enjoy being in the garden this summer.
Lynn has found that getting 'time' back from Time Swap has really helped her with tasks she cannot manage herself as well as improving quality of life for both herself and John.
The Time Swap 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, Time Swap 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’.
Time Swap has also provided opportunities for John. Every month a newletter is sent out to Time Swap members in Erewash with a list of what people want help with. Lynn noticed in the newsletter that a Time Swap 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 Time Swap
You can find out more about Time Swap on the Derbyshire County Council website, or ring one of the Time Swap Project Officers for a chat - you'll find the name and contact details of your local officer on the website - just select the page that covers your area borough/district area. Or you can call the central admin team on tel: 01629 532049 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Time Swap Project officers run regular information sessions across the county where you can drop-in and talk to the officers and other members of the scheme. The next planned drop-in sessions are listed on the Council's website.
If you can't get to a drop in, why not contact your local officers for a chat? Swaps are advertised through monthly local newsletters which are published on the website and sent to members by post or email. Local Project Officers act as brokers and give support to members. The officers can accompany new members on their first swap to make sure they feel comfortable.
Joining Time Swap
Joining Time Swap is easy, you can sign up online. To help keep people safe all Time Swap 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. If you are swapping time with vulnerable adults on a one-to-one basis a DBS check will need to be carried out. You can contact the Time Swap project officers (number above) to find out more about this. You can find out more about this in the Time Swap handbook which you will be given when you join.