Valuing students' assets and nurturing ambitions: the role of East London Time Bank

Start Date:  Nov 2015   End Date:  Sept 2016   Status: Completed

Timebanking empowers people to share skills and build mutual support using time as a currency. By offering services, members accumulate credits: those receiving services accumulate debts which are repaid through providing services to other members.

Time Bank recognises that each member has 'assets', mobilises these for positive change, and helps build self-esteem alongside networks of mutual trust and support. Crucially, Timebanking goes beyond volunteering as exchange between members generates further interaction elsewhere in the network via the time credit mechanism.

There are about 300 Time Banks in the UK whose members have exchanged over 2 million time credits. Yet, while the movement continues to grow and adapt, there are no university-based Time Banks in the UK that attempt to connect university staff and students with the local community and vice versa.

The UEL Time Bank provides an opportunity to do just that: pioneering the establishment of the country's first university-based Time Bank, strengthening civic engagement among students, staff and the community.


  • Growing and supporting members: building on IHHD's experience and expertise from previous projects, participatory workshops nurtured and mentored students, building their confidence and self-esteem to enable them to become engaged and active members of the UEL Time Bank.
  • Expanding the Time Bank: continue to develop Time Bank infrastructure (e.g. central team, evaluation, marketing, philosophy, website, leaflets, and business plan); and progress projects identified with UEL departments and local community organisations/networks, as well as identifying new opportunities.


The project has organised a range of workshops and managed to attract 40 members to the time bank who have exchanged a range of services and supported each other in various ways. Some members are volunteering in IHHD and some externally (e.g London borough of Waltham Forest). We attempted to facilitate various internal and external collaborations. For example, between UEL sports and external community based organisations with access to Newham residents involved in sport activities (e.g. NUSHO). Unfortunately, the continuation of provision depends on securing additional funding for a coordinator who needs to be employed three days per week to make the time bank work effectively. We are currently working on attracting funding to pay for this post.

Project Lead: Dr Marcello Bertotti, Senior Research Fellow

Project Team: Scott Danielsen, Michaela Otis, Ruby Farr, Emma Green, Cathryn Salisbury, Austine Karibo, Jonathan Mann

Funder: UEL Civic Engagement Seed Fund 2015/16

Project Partners: NUSHO

For more information, contact:    Dr Marcello Bertotti, Senior Research Fellow; Telephone: 020 8223 4139
Twitter - EastLdnTimeBank

Dr Marcello Bertotto

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