The Mersey Gateway Project

The 2020 round of the Mersey Gateway Time Bank scheme which provides help and support for groups, charities and organisations in Halton will run until Friday 27 March 2020.

The Time Bank is a way for Merseylink and Merseyflow to demonstrate their commitment to the local area and provide practical help and support to schools, colleges, charities, and community groups.

The scheme offers an innovative way of matching the skills of the Merseylink and Merseyflow teams with local needs to provide long-lasting benefits to community life in Halton.

          Some of the organisations which benefited from Time Bank in 2019

Since the scheme was launched in May 2014 the Time Bank has already gifted over 20,000 hours of support locally across 18 projects in Runcorn and Widnes.

Play areas, village halls, studios and community facilities are just some of the organisations that have benefited from previous rounds of Time Bank activity.

One of those to benefit last year was LOOSE Charity in Widnes, which had a garden area completely transformed with new paved areas, planters and garden furniture for service users to enjoy.

Louise Nulty, studio project manager at LOOSE charity, said: “To have the support of Time Bank to transform our back space into a welcoming, attractive haven is fantastic.

“The revived area lifts everyone who attends, especially those who have seen it over many years.

“They can’t believe the change and the fact that it is now a useable and beautiful place for our visitors.”

A minimum of 30 days per year are committed through the Time Bank scheme, and assistance can include anything from regeneration activities, career advice, technical advice, general maintenance, painting and litter picking, as well as any suggestions applicants can provide.

Helen Higginson, Head of Fundraising at The Warrington & Halton Hospitals’ Charity, which also benefited from the initiative, said: “The project is hugely beneficial for our patients and their families. By creating fabulous gardens to enjoy, our patients can feel more at home. We’re incredibly grateful for all of our project volunteers who are giving up their time to take on the challenge.

How it works

The Time Bank offers a framework of activities supported by a commitment of time and resources from the operations and maintenance team, Merseylink and toll administrator, Merseyflow. It uses ‘deposits’ of time from experienced teams – time which can then be used to give real practical support to organisations and individuals who need it.

A minimum of 30 days per year are committed through the Time Bank, and assistance can include anything from regeneration activities, career advice, technical advice and community and charity support.

Individuals from Merseylink and Merseyflow have also expressed an interest in offering more personal commitments such as mentoring, coaching, and presentation skills aimed at young people or the unemployed to increase their chances of securing sustainable employment.

Working with Halton Borough Council, Time Bank is overseen and managed by the Merseylink Network Steward, Karen Atherton, who reports to the Mersey Gateway Employment Skills Governance Board to ensure that the ‘deposits’ of time and/or resources are targeted at the needs of the local schools, colleges, charities, and community groups and are used effectively to secure clear and measurable community benefits.

The next round of Time Bank runs until Friday 27 March 2020.

Community groups, local charities and organisations who are interested in applying for support from the Time Bank are advised to get their applications in soon.

You can email info@merseylink.com to apply or for more information.

Halton Borough Council Mersey Link

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Mersey Gateway Project