5. How respectful, cohesive and strong are local communities?
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What success would mean
“Our city will have a culture of fairness and respect for people and the environment. The right of all London’s citizens and communities to pursue fulfilment will be assured, so long as this does not infringe on the rights of others.”
“We will celebrate the unique ethnic and cultural diversity of London’s citizens as London’s key strength. We will be a society free from inequality and discrimination, striving for greater equality of opportunity for all, actively opposing and challenging racism.”
London Sustainable Development Commission1
Respectful, strong and cohesive communities are good for…
Healthy people - self-rated health is higher when residents feel part of their community.2
Environmental sustainability - the sense of belonging, which is fostered by a cohesive psychosocial environment in the workplace, may encourage an altruistic mindset that motivates voluntary pro- environment behaviour.3
Examples of Relevant National Indicators:
NI001:% of people who believe people from different backgrounds get on well together in their local area
NI002:% of people who feel that they can influence decisions locally
NI003: Civic participation in the local area
NI007: Environment for a thriving third sector
Rushey Green Time Bank
What is it?
A time bank is a new and exciting way for people to come together to help others and help themselves at the same time.
The award-winning Rushey Green project seeks to alleviate isolation and increase well-being in Catford - an area of social and health need, with high mortality and a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease.
How does it work?
Participants 'deposit' their time in the bank by giving practical help and support to others and are able to 'withdraw' their time when they need something done themselves.
Coordination - the time bank co-ordinator links up members offers, and wants and services using the TimeKeeper software package.
How time is valued - everyone's time is valued equally: one hour = 1 time credit.
Activities - people help each other out with everything from making phone calls to sharing meals and giving lifts to the shops - anything that brings them together.
Membership profile - members of the time bank vary widely in age and background but most are isolated patients referred by their GPs who suffer from physical and mental health problems that are often inter-connected and lead to isolation and depression. 48% of members have some sort of disability.
Impact - Rushey Green Time Bank has nearly 200 members and by the end of 2008 had exchanged over 30 000 hours of people’s time. Other local community organisations are also referring their members to the time bank.
What are the main impacts?
Respectful, strong and cohesive communities - Time banks aim to help people to develop their self-worth through positive social networks.
Healthy and well supported people - Time banks can increase levels of self-confidence and self-esteem; increase people’s trust in others; decrease isolation, stress and anxiety; promote active participation in the community and increase participation in a range of exercises and healthy living activities. Because of the support they gain from the group, patients do not have to visit their GP as much.
"This alternative method of treatment has led to a lot of patients being taken off antidepressants. Too often in the past doctors would give people drugs or nothing at all.”
Dr Richard Byng, Rushey Green Time Bank4
For more information, contact:
T: 020 7138 1772
1. London Sustainable Development Commission Framework
2. Stafford, M. et al, 2004. Neighbourhood Social Cohesion and Health: Investigating Associations and Possible Mechanisms in Morgan A, ed. Social Capital and Health: Issues of Definition, Measurement and Links to Health. Health Development Agency, London.
3. London Health Commission, 2006. Sustainable Local Economies for Health project.
4. Rushey Green Time Banking Evaluation Report