Paxton Green Time Bank needs a screen printer

Paxton Green Time Bankers in Greenwich Photo:

Paxton Green Time Bank are appealing for a  screen printer to lend their talents to a local resident, as part of their ongoing drive to co-produce sustainable collaborative services within the community.

Time banks are co-operative groups who provide practical support, companionship, and educational courses that people may not otherwise be able to access.

They are based at Kingswood House near Sydenham, and run a weekly drop-in session from Paxton Green surgery. Their current search for screen printing help is for a  local artist, who has been homeless in the past and wants to develop his talent by producing t-shirts.

There are many time banks across London and the country. They act as hubs for people to come together, offer help and support each other. This way public services are accessed through co-production rather than by delivery; utilising the abilities and talents already present in the community. Trips and outings are organised, such as to the Tate Modern, Brighton beach and the Houses of Parliament. Places on educational courses are also made available.

The benefits to people who join are more than just practical; it can be social or therapeutic. For some it can be a good way to socialise and co-operate with neighbours; or it can be an important method of overcoming the isolating experience of ill-health.

Lex Karlin is one of the Paxton Green’s brokers: he facilitates the exchange of skills amongst members. He told East London Lines that the ethos of co-production is what drives the time bank.

Time Credits

If you need help with a computer, another member helps you out and earns ‘hours’ – time credits they can use to get help with gardening, DIY or simple, fun passtimes. Each hour of a member’s time is treated equally; so one hour spent playing chess is treated equally to one hour of plumbing. This community-driven method of delivering services and helping those geographically or socially disadvantaged is not confined to time-banking.

Doreen is a retired lecturer in human biology and a member of the time bank. She shares her expertise with others and has given seminars as part of her involvement in the Lambeth Active Learning Facilitator Project, which engages patients and service users in self-managed learning activities. This project has been shown to boost participants’ knowledge and confidence; the key being it is the participants who are also the experts.

Doreen was keen to point out this ethos has been strong for years, before the government started calling it the “big society”

Kingswood House, home of Paxton Green Time Bank pic: Simon Newton

Another member, Jane, initially helped out in the time bank’s office, but after getting a blocked drain, the co-operative nature of time banks sprung into action and she found she didn’t have to call a plumber. She said the beneficial effect it can have on people:  “I’ve seen people come in depressed, feeling like they are worthless or haven’t got anything to offer society and leaving with a massive smile on their face.”

The skills that members contribute to the group are wide. Paul is 49 years old, unemployed and from Norwood, but his computer expertise is vast; with a knowledge of languages as varied as HTML, Javascript, CSS and Ruby. He has provided others with computer support, while Paul had most recently used his banked hours for a game of chess.

He says he benefits by being introduced to people and activites he otherwise would not know: “I just look at it as fun, but it can be serious as well. Sometimes you try things you wouldn’t normally do. It allows people to come together and help.”

The concept of time banking originated in the USA by Edgar Cahn. Paxton Green member Richard has been involved for over twelve  years and has seen them grow in popularity. Once a broker, he is now retired but continues his involvement. He says  “Once you’re in this game you can’t keep out of it.”  He said that at its core, time banks are about connecting people: “It’s basically about keeping in touch, its own social network.”

Do you have screen-printing skills? Paxton Green Time Bank need your help. Why not get in contact and volunteer a few hours of your time?

Paxton Green Time Bank


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