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Time Bank St. Ann's Bay

Frequently Asked Questions


How does it work?

When you spend an hour doing something for a member, you earn a time dollar.  Then you can use that time dollar to buy an hour of another member's time. You might get an hour's worth of help in your garden, take a yoga class, or get a ride somewhere. Members use a simple web-based system to let others know what they want to give and receive, and to track the TimeDollars going in and out of their TimeBank accounts. (You can get help with this if you need it).  Remember an hour of your time is worth an hour of another member's time.  The TimeBank encourages members to offer services that they really enjoy. Then, earning time dollars becomes fun! You can exchange something basic like a meal or a ride, or you can try something new like kayaking or massage. You can also give TimeBank gifts to family and friends – an hour of interior design consultation as a birthday present, anyone? Plus, there are plenty of opportunities to socialize.

Who joins the timebank? 

While most members live in St. Ann’s Bay, anyone can join.

What is the membership fee?  

Currently there is no membership fee. 

What if I don't have the time?  

You decide how many hours to offer and receive.  In addition, you can also do a service such as child care or dog walking when you would be taking care of your own child or walking your own dog, so TimeBank may not necessitate lots of extra time.    

What kinds of services can I receive? 

Car rides (airport, doctors visits), budget and tax preparation, child and pet care, shopping, minor home repair, house painting, holistic therapy (massage, acupuncture), organizing your home, interior design, mending and alterations, computer help, web design, garden/yard work (mowing, stacking, shoveling), moving assistance, cooking, cleaning, private lessons, classes and tutoring, editing, translating, companionship.  The sky’s the limit. 

Why should I join?  

In addition to getting services without having to spend money, having opportunities to meet new people and expand your network, the TimeBank allows us to give to others and get something back.  It can be an opportunity to try out a new activity.  As many of us deal with the realities of our current tight economy, having an alternative way to get services is quite timely. 

Can someone get paid money for a service?

Money is not part of the program. This is an exchange of services.

What happens if a person is taking but not giving back?

If someone has received far more hours than they have given, the co-ordinator can help them find satisfying ways in which they might contribute.

Is there a maximum deficit allowed?

The co-ordinator can determine if the person is uncomfortable with the deficit and can benefit from help finding things they can offer.

Time banking will not make the services that I need more available to me, because there simply isn’t anyone around to do what I need like stacking wood.

Outside the time-bank, many people may feel they are too busy looking after themselves and don’t need money so would not advertise themselves as available to stack wood. However, in the context of this social project, the same person may be willing to stack wood for 2 hours/month to help a neighbor and gain the time dollars which they might use when they need them, for example to have someone check on their house while they’re off on holiday.

How many hours does someone get for her/his 3 hours of stacking wood?

If something takes you three hours to do, you get three hours, even if someone else could have done it faster.

I make a soup and it takes me 1 hour to cook. Do we factor in cost of ingredients? time to buy the stuff....?

If the cost of ingredients is substantial, you may agree to  exchange money for the cost of the ingredients. That is not purchase as much as paying someone for something that they bought for you; and therefore, not subject to taxation.

If I am going into town and someone asks me to pick up an item, how much time do I chart for my extra effort?

The minimum time unit is one hour. So if the time seems very little, still record one hour.

Do I have to wait until someone takes my offer and I have earned some Time dollars before I can spend an hour accepting someone else’s offer?

No, you can run a negative balance in the bank if someone responds to your request or if you see an offer you would like to take before you have completed a transaction.  If you want to make some extra hours you can look at the requests posted and see if you can do any of them. The co-ordinator may help you find an exchange you would enjoy.

What about people who are not comfortable with the internet or who don’t have a computer?

It is the role of the coordinator to be accessible by phone.  She is there to interact with members and update their accounts for them if they have troubles. There is a feature in the program that assigns the role of "guardian angel" to certain tech savvy members to " watch over" and help those who are not. Also, there is the possibility of "family memberships" where a whole family has an account that they contribute to or draw from but only the tech savvy adults operate it.

Are there provisions for reimbursing for out-of pocket expenses or wear and tear on equipment?

Out of pocket expenses can be negotiated, for example: ingredients, gas or materials