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Timebanking Story

In this story, John from Timebanking UK discusses their blind golf project and its benefits for all who participate.

Reading Level: Medium
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Created with Timebanking UK


Timebanking UK (TBUK) is the national charity supporting the development of timebanking. Timebanking is a free exchange of time and skills. People give an hour of their time to help someone and earn a ‘time credit’ that can be exchanged for an hour of help for themselves. Almost any type of help can be offered and by anyone.

So, for each hour you give, you get something back and an hour’s help from others. It’s easy, it’s fun and it’s free!

We’re the only membership organisation in the UK who provide advice, resources, software and training to anyone who wants to set up a new time bank, develop their existing one, or just learn more about timebanking.

Originally, we engaged with England and Wales Blind Golf and reached out to see if time banks members could help support their tournaments.

We have been working directly with the team at Blind Golf and the golfers with visual impairments and their families to develop this project.

The Importance of Co-design

Through co-designing this project, we want to address the adverse mental health experiences, expressed directly by our golfers about adjusting to life with sight loss.

Many do not yet have a positive outlook on their lives and feel increasingly isolated, unable to cope and struggle to adjust to their sight loss. We know that our Blind Golf sessions can often be the only sporting and social outlet that the players have.

We want to build on our evolving relationship with England and Wales Blind Golf by using golf as the focus to support players, their families and friends, carers and communities to become more active.

Getting everyone involved

We are focusing on increasing the number of people with visual impairment playing golf.  We want to increase the participation of the visually impaired players, their families, friends and carers in time bank activities to offer them opportunities to improve their physical and mental health within their local communities.

We will continue to encourage all of our time banks to offer support and the full range of timebanking activities.

Our project has helped to develop relationships with golf clubs and driving ranges so that visually impaired golfers can be more physically active.

These relationships, through local time banks, with local leisure centres are important. In addition, through our time banks, we also offer group activities, for example, such as group walks, yoga and creative writing to improve health and well-being.

We also make sure that group activities can also be undertaken virtually. For example, we can bring together a facilitated group to have a discussion on a topic of interest at no cost and thus enable social interaction which is just one way to reduce isolation.

A great thing about time banking is the opportunity to reduce social isolation through one-to-one time exchanges such as befriending, delivering or shopping together and gardening that will aim to improve the anxiety, depression and mental health of those participating. Getting active is just the start!

Focusing on local action

We have been ensuring that local time banks offer membership to the visually impaired golfers, their families, friends and carers so that everyone can benefit from improving their physical health and mental well-being. They can get involved in physical activities and offer participation in time bank exchanges which helps to reduce feelings of social isolation.

Visually impaired golfers, some of whom also have a long-term health condition, have reported feeling worried and fearful of getting out and about, exercising or coming in personal contact with people. Before the lockdown, many told us they were concerned about mobility issues and needing support and assistance.

Now we are coming out of lockdown, anxiety and worry remain, but at the same time they have asked for 1-to-1 communication, help and support from the time bank.

The Blind Golf season runs each year from April to September.  Time banks will support the golfers, their families, friends and carers through the autumn and winter with time bank exchanges and group activities.

By offering activities and interaction, time banks are helping to support in raising low mood and mild depression and support families to enable referrals to the NHS where necessary.

Through our special project, we are achieving two things: to get visually impaired people more active through participating in golf and to support visually impaired golfers and their families by becoming time bank members via our network of national time banks.


Next Steps

We want to work with you!

We want to help organisations reduce the negative impacts of Covid-19 and address any widening inequalities in participation rates in sport and physical activity.

Learn more in our Together Fund hub

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