Volunteers can spice up their lives by earning learning credits

  |  Published: Feb 6th 2015

Volunteers in Buckinghamshire are now to be offered free time on adult learning courses in exchange for the time they spend helping their community.

For each hour they spend volunteering, they will receive a ‘time credit’ of one hour which they can spend on a range of exciting courses at Buckinghamshire Adult Learning. 

Buckinghamshire Adult learning has joined with national charity Spice to issue and accept Time Credits, a pioneering currency operated by Spice across England and Wales. The aim is to provide a way for local people to become more involved in their communities.

Across the country, more than 16,000 people have benefited from Time Credits which they can also use for attractions such as leisure centres or theatres.

As of January 2015, this extends to adult learning courses in Buckinghamshire, opening up opportunities to learn new skills as far-ranging as jewellery making, yoga and pottery to learning Italian. 

Buckinghamshire Adult Learning also has around 60 volunteers who support classes, and  these volunteers will also be able to earn credits as a result of giving their time in this way.

Volunteers can spend their Time Credits on any adult learning course excluding work-based learning, Missenden Abbey Summer School and weekend courses, and those courses which result in a qualification at Level 3 or above. However, this still means that hundreds of courses are now available to Time Credit members.

Time Credits in Buckinghamshire are part of Prevention Matters, a partnership between Buckinghamshire County Council, the District Councils, the local community and voluntary sector and the NHS.

Prevention Matters aims to support vulnerable adults, including older people, adults with disabilities, those with chronic health needs, and/or poor mental health. Volunteers will earn credits for supporting activities such as befriending, volunteer driving or running local interest groups.

Deborah McLean-Thorne, Prevention Matters Time Credits Facilitator, said: “It is great news that Buckinghamshire Adult Learning will be joining the Time Credit Network. So many individuals and groups that are joining the scheme in Bucks say that they would love to spend their Time Credits on courses, improving skills and confidence.”

Zena Sutcliffe, Learning Services Manager at Buckinghamshire Adult Learning, said:  “We see Time Credits as a good way for people to be rewarded for their time and it allows us to say a special thank you to our own volunteers who are so important to our service.”

Buckinghamshire Adult Learning offers a broad programme of over 2,000 part-time courses and workshops, delivered from 120 locations across the county. Courses range from one-day to one-year, covering beginner through to advanced levels with daytime and evening flexibility. Tutors are dedicated and passionate about their subjects and give learners the chance to develop their skills, knowledge and confidence in a friendly and supportive environment.

For more information about Time Credits contact Spice on 0208 980 2691.

For more information about Buckinghamshire Adult Learning phone 01296 382 403 or visit www.adultlearningbcc.ac.uk

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