Last week, on a cold winter Sunday, 14 amazing volunteers spent the day transforming a small area of neglected wasteground in Twerton into a fruitful community garden. We cleared brambles and nettles, cut the grass, dug out flower beds, collected about 8 bin bags of rubbish and planted soft fruit bushes and other plants, all of which had been donated to us.

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At lunchtime, we warmed up at the Time Bank office with hot soup and tasty vegetable stew prepared by some of the volunteers.

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We made and painted a wooden sign - and Hanna Close Community Garden came into existence. This is a space for the local community, where anyone passing by or living in the local area can get involved or help themselves to the odd raspberry, apple or globe artichoke.

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Bath Guerrilla Gardeners were actively involved with this project and have created several other beautiful community growing spaces throughout the city.

We are delighted to announce that we’ve received funding from the Big Lottery (Awards for All) to co-ordinate a local ‘Twerton’s Got Talent’ event next summer.

The event will be an opportunity for groups and individuals in the local community to showcase their creativity and talents, whether that may be acrobatics or artwork, ballroom dancing or baking, choir singing or crafts, devil sticks or drumming….

We’ve already heard from local schools, youth hubs, arts projects, community groups and children's centres which would like to take part, so we anticipate an amazing gathering of talented local residents of all ages.

Contact us or watch this space for further details.

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Our 10th Anniversary Celebration this August was attended by well over sixty Time Bank volunteers and supporters. The weather was warm and dry so many people opted to sit outside in the lovely Rose Cottage garden and perhaps have a go at scarf juggling, diabolo or other fun circus skills activities led by Claire.

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Inside, we were entertained by two members of the U3A Swing Band; some people couldn't resist singing along to the well known jazz standards and popular music from the sixties.

Time Bank Plus 10 year anniversary party

Everyone enjoyed the delicious home-baked cream teas, prepared and served by our volunteers.

Time Bank Plus 10 year anniversary party

We were delighted that Sarah Bird, who set up the Time Bank 10 years ago and has now become CEO of Timebanking UK, was able to attend.

All photos courtesy of Time Bank member and amazing photographer, Tony McNichol

This was a development from last year’s micro exhibition in Foxhill Point. A portion of a small grant from B&NES Arts Development Team was used to finance this year’s large scale exhibition (along with a contribution from the CURO grant for the festival).
It was held in the Exhibition Room of Bath Central Library. This was a partnership initiative with Arty Buddies and B&NES Library Service and was an opportunity to showcase art works produced in Foxhill in the centre of the city.
Arty Buddies is an organisation that runs art groups established in Bath &NES communities and is supported by Time Bank Plus. The Foxhill group meets on Tuesday mornings at the small community building ‘Foxhill Point’ which is the former laundry for Dunster House (a block of flats in the centre of the Foxhill estate).
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• The art exhibition itself was held for seven days from Monday 1st June to Sunday 7th June
• The art exhibition opening event was held between 5pm and 6.15pm on Monday 1st June. The exhibition was opened by Cherry Beath, the Mayor of Bath.
The most senior contributor to the exhibition was Margery Crocker who is in her hundredth year and had never drawn before joining the art group at Foxhill.
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The exhibition opening went with a buzz and was enjoyed by all. During the week the exhibition had a steady flow of visitors with some lovely comments in the visitor’s book. The most frequently appearing word was ‘inspiring’.
A small selection of comments are shown below:
‘Very inspiring exhibition’
‘Inspiring and wonderful. Hopefully community art will flourish again’
‘Amazing and inspiring’
‘Wonderful and such a friendly group. Well done!’
‘Excellent exhibition. Really effective and affecting. Thanks for sharing your art.’
‘Beautiful work – colourful and inspiring.’
‘Excellent, some of the paintings were very moving.’
‘Most vibrant, adventurous, colourful and inspiring’
‘Brilliant exhibition. Well done everyone.’
‘Love the colours – what a high standard!’
‘Fantastic work! Beautifully presented too.’
‘Wow, so much work and detail makes this a very special set of pictures to view. Thank you.’
We also amassed quite a collection of visitor’s contributions both sketches and ‘word images’.
Tis exhibition will be going 'on tour' so watch out for it if you missed it during the Foxhill Festival.

Sun, kites, music and art!
This was the second Foxhill Festival and built on the successes and learning of last year’s. It was organised at short notice by a very small team taking advantage of a CURO grant. Our partners were Arty Buddies and the Bath and NE Somerset Library Service.

It included arts and crafts and music events as well as a guided local walk. Kite making was provided as this year’s crafts element and a picnic and kite flying event replaced last year’s ‘Party in the Park’.

Last year’s mini art exhibition was succeeded this festival by a much larger exhibition in Bath Central Library Exhibition Room (the library has a footfall in excess of 40,000 per month). This exhibition has a planned continuing life in other exhibition venues.

The music element ran to the same format as last year’s successful day.

This year’s local walk was particularly useful in following a route which linked Foxhill, the MOD site/ Mulberry Park area and Combe Down.

Kite Flying
Kite flying is an activity that spans cultures and historical eras. As a non-flying species we’re fascinated by flight and delight in making something that we can launch into the sky, watch and learn to have some control over.
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There were five separate sessions of kite making all of which involved an element of kite flying on completion. These were made up of:

• two sessions at Combe Down Primary School with the first two years of the Juniors involving in total 60 children. The children test flew their kites at the end of the session in the playground. These workshops were held during the first two weeks of May.
• two family workshops during the May half term holiday. The venue for these workshops was the Foxhill Community Centre. These were very popular and attended by over 40 people. These were mainly groups of children with parents and grandparents but also some unaccompanied teenagers.
• a further kite making workshop was held during the festival weekend at St Andrew’s Church in between music events on Saturday 6th June. This was again attended by family groupings.
In addition:
• a picnic and kite flying event was held on the afternoon of Sunday 7th June in Entry Hill Playing Field. This was a family event and families taking part included those from the primary school sessions, some from the half term workshops and some from the workshop held the previous day. There was a real mix of age ranges from babes in arms to grandparents.

Music Day!
After Lark
This year the music strand included (all at the St Andrew’s Community Church on Saturday 6th June):

• a morning drumming workshop led by Justin Fellowes of Rhythm Instinct.
• a morning guitar workshop
• an evening of music performances starting with an open mic. led by Suzanna Lea (country and western artist)
• followed by performances provided by: petesavin and co. (music and self -penned songs), Untapped (blues and popular covers) Serendipity (young, cool and contemporary sounds and lyrics from Emily and Katie Seaborne) and After Lark ( playing jazz standards and original lyrics from Kait Lee (vocals) and Becky White (bass guitar))

See the separate post with news of the Art Exhibition 'Ekphrastic'

Our Social Cafe for the Over 50's age group is up and running every Tuesday between 12 & 4pm at Rose Cottage (just across the road from our office in Twerton). With use of all 4 rooms at ground level, there is space to suit everyone’s needs.  We have a wonderful team of volunteers who prepare lunch, serve, clear up and help run a range of activities.

The cafe is proving a great place to make new friends, learn new skills or share existing skills such as crochet, knitting, and rag rug making, or to play board games or use the centre's computers. Some participants just want to come out for lunch, a chat or coffee & cake, without necessarily joining in the after lunch activities. It is possible to arrange transport, if needed, by arrangement.

The project aims only to cover its costs, so prices are very reasonable - £1.50 for home-made soup, bread & butter, £1 for a sandwich or just 30p for a cup of tea or coffee.

Several times a year, the Rose Cottage staff prepare a full 2-course lunch, open to all and bookable in advance at the cost of £5. The Easter meal, held in late March, was a great success and a good social mix where people had a chance to re-connect or meet others.

Please feel free to come along any Tuesday between 12 & 4pm and sample one of our delicious home-made soups, or just drop by for a cup of tea or a game of Scrabble. We are also looking for more volunteers who are confident cooks, to help prepare the soup once a month.

We had a great couple of herbal afternoon sessions this month. Both times we met at the Time bank office and did some herb identification and had a lovely cup of herb tea.  Then went for a refreshing walk into Pennyquick park to do some more identification at the edges of the park. Its fantastic to see how many herbs and berries are still out this time of year if you take the time to have a good look.

Hopefully we may run some more of these sessions in the future if there is continued interest. Please let us know if you would like to come along.

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2013/14 has been perhaps our most successful year to date. With over 150 active volunteers 4 part-time staff members, and a number of new funding streams, we have initiated several exciting new projects in Twerton and Foxhill, taking timebanking to a whole new level.

Foxhill Festival was funded by the Big Lottery Awards for All. It took place over 8 days in May this year and comprised around 30 different community events and activities in the Foxhill area, harnessing the talent and creativity of local residents of all ages.

The programme kicked off with a Party in the Park, attended by over 300 people, and also included art exhibitions, a treasure hunt, local history talks, a family filmshow, music workshops, a pub quiz, local walks, an evening of performance by local musicians and more. The final music event (included in the Bath Fringe Festival) attracted an audience of over 80 people and was a fitting close to a truly magnificent week.

Thanks to funding from Chrysalis, we are able to continue working with the Foxhill community in the coming year, building on the partnerships and activities initiated through the Festival.

Redland Park Time Exchange has been one of our biggest and most productive projects this year. Funded by the People’s Health Trust, with additional support for youthwork sessions from the Commissioner’s Community Fund, this project is based on and around the Redland Park Estate in Twerton.

Following consultation with local residents, we focussed particularly on developing activities for children and young people in the local area. Youth activities included art and crafts, circus skills, football coaching, nature activities and outdoor cookery.

We also organised 3 Community Fun Days in the local park and a Christmas event at a nearby community venue for people of all ages. With several hundred local people attending, these events were an excellent way to build community cohesion and for the local community to participate in taster activities and get to know the Time Bank.

Much of the work in the Redland Park area was carried out in partnership with other local agencies including Curo Housing Group, St Michael’s Junior School, Community Learning Service, Bath Area Play Project, First Steps Children’s Centre and Southside Youth Hub. Partnership working helps to ensure an element of continuity for the local community once a particular funding programme comes to an end.

For example, one of our volunteers helped to set up and co-ordinate a school gardening club for parents, children and members of the local community.  Due to the success of this activity, Curo have agreed to contribute towards funding for the gardening club in the coming year.

Art for Wellbeing was a programme supported by Quartet Community Foundation which has enabled us to run art classes in Twerton and Foxhill, focussing in particular on confidence building and wellbeing. Our art classes have been popular and hugely successful, unleashing the creative talent of local people and culminating in wonderful displays of artwork.

In addition to the project work outlined above, we have continued to co-ordinate an active programme of ongoing Time Bank exchanges and services, including:

  • a variety of individual exchanges, ranging from giving lifts, cleaning and helping with interview skills to language help, hair cutting and mending a football net!
  •  a capable and productive gardening team, which has been going out every week to help maintain the gardens of those in need of assistance;
  •  a DIY /decorating team, supported by funding from Comic Relief, which has provided training in basic practical skills to our volunteers whilst helping with simple practical jobs in peoples’ homes;
  • a fortnightly food co-op, providing bags of locally grown vegetables at affordable prices to people living locally;
  • a number of ongoing groups led by Time Bank members, including guitar, Knit & Natter, walking, board games and crochet.

Funding from St John’s Hospital has enabled us to offer 1:1 support and mentoring to our more vulnerable members, such as young people who are not in employment, education or training, people with physical or mental health issues or those with learning difficulties. For example, we supported a young man with cerebral palsy to volunteer, helping in the library at St Michael’s Junior school. This helped him to gain confidence and to achieve a place on a work experience course, as well as being a good awareness opportunity for children at the school.

Timebanking is a wonderful tool for helping to motivate people and enable them to gain skills and confidence and to build stronger and more active communities. Through projects, groups, partnerships, learning opportunities and events, people become involved in local activities and then go on to help others in many different ways.

Through all our activities, our volunteers are always in the driving seat, helping to push the boundaries of timebanking to newer and wider horizons. In the past year nearly 170 new members and 16 organisations have joined the Time Bank, contributing a total of almost 6,000 hours.

With several successful projects behind us, we are now in the process of looking ahead and contemplating what the future may bring. Funding for core costs and ongoing activities is always hard to attract and in the past 2 years we have been very fortunate to receive support towards our core costs from Mr Brian Roper of Roper Rhodes, now sadly deceased. With multiple pressures on funders and no assurances of ongoing funding, securing our future is, as ever, a challenge.

We would like to say a massive thank you to our amazing, ever-helpful volunteers, our wonderful, supportive management committee and to our generous funders who have demonstrated their trust in us to make all this possible.                                    

We had a really great day on Saturday 13th in Pennyquick park and a fantastic turnout from the community and from all the organisations that attended.

Bath City Farm came down with chickens to show the children, and Adrian Secker brought along a couple of the police horses which were a huge hit.

We also had a few Vikings doing sword fighting and they helped to draw the raffle that Time bank had put on. The bouncy castle was very full with young people most of the day and Rachael's Community Shop made some fantastic multicultural food to give out to everyone who came down, as well as running a jumble sale.

There was Art & Craft with Sophie who made some great masks with the young people, Michelle ran some window sill gardening. Unique Voices did some great drama based activities with all the children interested, while Be creative had a stand giving out information on their carnival project for next year.

And of course Claire ran the circus skills which were very popular as always and Time bank had free tea and coffee on the go.

All in all it was a great day, many many thanks to everyone who helped to make it happen - especially all of our volunteers.

This is the last Redland event in this project and it has been the best yet. We hope to access more funding for future projects in and around the Twerton area and will still be running lots of great groups and 1-1 exchanges from Time bank, come in to the office at 86 Twerton High street and have a chat to find out more.

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Our first Family fun afternoon in Pennyquick park today and the rain stayed away! We started the afternoon with some hazel coppicing and then made some hazel pencils with the help of Matt from the Avon Wild life Trust. We also made some wooden name badges and afterwards some of the boys helped to set up a ban marie to melt pieces of chocolate for our banana chocolate snacks - yum!  Later in the afternoon Sophie set up a craft area and we made lots of great paper crowns.

One boy commented that it was great participation and when I asked him what that meant he said:

How I see it is its about having fun, helping people have fun and being a part of whats fun and to try not to spoil it for anyone else

Come along to the next free family activity day if you are free, there will be more basic nature activities, art & craft, simple refreshments and next time Clare is doing some circus skills. Wednesday August 27th 1.30-6pm - First session 1.30-3.30 and second session 4-6pm.

pencil making 13 aug fam fun day craft fun 13 Aug family fun day Choc bananas 13 aug fam fun day