A new gym in Chatham is the first business to sign up to Medway Time Credits, an innovative social currency scheme that recognises the time people give to their community.
Thinking Fitness has joined the ‘spend network’ which recognises volunteers through Time Credits that can be exchanged to pay for admission at local attractions and leisure activities.
Medway Time Credits is part of Involving Medway, an initiative designed to encourage people to engage and help make decisions about health provision in the area. The pilot project is funded by Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for planning and buying local NHS services.
Nick Forward, Facilities Manager at Thinking Fitness, which is based in Park Crescent near Walderslade Road, said: “For a new business like us, Time Credits offer a fantastic opportunity to increase brand awareness as we work in unison to get the scheme off the ground locally.
“It is a great way to get involved with the local area and to reward the individuals who are key to the running of our local community. Our staff are hugely excited at the prospect of rewarding volunteers for their contribution by helping them reach their fitness goals.”
Spice, the social enterprise behind Time Credits, was founded in South Wales and has since spread across the UK – they are now growing their work in the South East of England. Time Credits encourage individuals to volunteer for the community, in return for a Time Credit note for each hour they give. The Time Credit can be ‘spent’ on community, cultural and leisure activities both in their area and across the national network of partners, including attractions such as the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral.
Smitha Campbell, Project Manager at Medway Time Credits, commented: “We are so pleased to have Thinking Fitness on board and are looking forward to finding out how volunteers spend their Time Credits at the gym.
“This is a great opportunity for organisations to demonstrate corporate social responsibility and to become more involved in their community. We are looking for all kinds of businesses to join the scheme, including leisure activity providers, cinemas, museums, theatres and sports centres. We are extremely flexible in terms of requirements so would encourage anyone interested to get in touch for an informal chat.”
The Time Credit model has been independently proven to increase community cohesion, raise levels of volunteering and improve health. To date, an estimated 35,000 people have earned the currency, and approximately 450,000 time credits have been issued across England and Wales.
Caroline Selkirk, Accountable Officer at NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Involving Medway is a new way to engage with and support people in Medway, ultimately enabling us to sustain a healthier local community – this includes encouraging people to get and stay fit. With the NHS under increasing pressure nationally, we must find new and innovative ways of working. I am very pleased to see Time Credits in Medway as it has been so successful elsewhere in the UK.”
Organisations wishing to find out more about joining the Medway Time Credits scheme can email Smitha Campbell on email@example.com. For more information on Time Credits visit www.justaddspice.org or follow @MedwayTC on Twitter.
To find out more about Involving Medway visit www.medwayccg.nhs.uk/involving-medway, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01634 407337.
Thinking Fitness (Time Credits) L-R: Valentina Serra and Nick Jobson of Thinking Fitness, the first business to sign up to Medway Time Credits.
Medway Time Credit note: The Medway Time Credit note which was designed in consultation with the community. Medway’s proximity to the water and the dockyard led to a blue colour palette.
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Notes to Editors
- Medway CCG is responsible for planning and buying local NHS services, for the patient population of 295,223 across Medway.
- Medway CCG’s main role is to plan and buy health services across the Medway towns. It works closely with patient groups, local public health, social care and voluntary sector partners to make sure the right services are available at the right time.
- The CCG is one of 211 in the country, the Medway CCG is made up of GPs, other healthcare professionals and experienced commissioners dedicated to making Medway a healthier place to live.
- It is committed to developing a strong clinically-led organisation that puts the needs of Medway residents at the heart of its decisions.
- Medway Clinical Commissioning Group has a governing body made up of local GPs, a registered nurse and several lay members, all working with a network of health professionals across the area.Red Zebra Community Solutions is a local infrastructure organisation, working with residents and organisations to improve opportunities and services for people in the community. www.redzebra.org.uk/
Involving Medway is a one-year pilot, funded by NHS Medway CCG, to bring local partners together to investigate and test creative and innovative ways to strengthen communities, empowering local residents to play a role in transforming local health services.
- Kent Community Foundation www.kentcf.org.uk/
- Spice Time Credits www.justaddspice.org/
- Medway Voluntary Action www.mva.org.uk/
- New Economics Foundation http://neweconomics.org/