A good time to volunteer


Even in this new era of spending cuts and financial uncertainty throughout the public sector, former OBV graduate Janet Bowens has not yet given up on the idea of volunteering. Janet, a graduate of OBV’s 2010 Lewisham Civic Leadership Development Programme, is now the project coordinator for Rushey Green Time Bank’s “Bring & Fix” community event, an intergenerational volunteer fair that will take place on Saturday, April 9th.

Part of the London Leaders 2011 programme, the concept of Time Banks such as Rushey Green is to put a new spin on the idea of volunteering. If an individual puts in an hour of time helping someone, that person is entitled to one hour of help in return. Bring & Fix, which will be held from 10-4pm on April 9th, at St Laurence’s Church Hall in Catford, will bring together people of all ages to share whatever knowledge or skill they may posses.

Janet, who herself is a member of Rushey Green Time Bank, became drawn to the idea upon seeing the benefit that helping someone can have. “Because of all the government cuts, no one thinks volunteering is a good idea anymore…but just doing something that benefits someone can be entirely uplifting.”  Janet has likened the event to an Antiques Roadshow of sorts, with skills that range from plumbing to computer design being traded back and forth. “It’s about giving back, but at the same time, you benefit by gaining the resources of someone else for free”.

With the Bring & Fix event, volunteers can share information about something they have great passion for, while in return receiving a valuable service they may otherwise be unable to get. The uniqueness of this event should provide great fun for all involved. As Janet says “It’s all about empowering someone with knowledge. Anything you can do to make someone knowledgeable, it’s a way of both giving and receiving without cash or payment changing hands.” In this uncertain climate, that’s an idea a lot of people can probably agree with.

Francine Fernandes, Head of Shadowing Schemes said: “Janet epitomises the essence of community empowerment. As a volunteer herself, she encapsulates the value of the Time Bank project, which will showcase the wealth of skills of Rushey Green residents and bring the community closer together. Janet is a real credit to her community and an inspiration to all.”

If you would like to attend or participate in the event, please contact Janet Bowens on 07770 245 789 or by email at janetbowens@rgtb.org.uk.


By Ben Fraimow

Archived Comments

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Rushey Green Time Bank - Bring & Fix

Janet - The Time Bank is a great concept, which I'm sure with your enthusiam and drive will grow from strength to strength in Lewisham. I certainly agree that giving to others is rewarding. Best of luck with the event and I hope it generates the leads you need.
Best of luck and carry on living your principles.

Bring and Fix

I attended this event organised by Janet and had a GREAT time, the concept is original and very rewarding....i didn't know we had such talented individuals within our community!!
I had a lot of help from the volunteers including a will service, life coaching and a talented face painter that creared a dragon fly for me....so creative.
This type of event should be promoted more frequently and if anybody else can help do not hesitate.
Thank you Janet.