WTB Newsletter - Why TimeBanking is good for us! Trading Tales: Thomas & Cathy


Lamp Base gets New Lease of Life!

Having met Cathy before I knew she had a real passion for re-cycling … and that is exactly what happened when she saw a lamp-base on Trade Me, masquerading as a vase!

She had wanted a particular lamp for the corner of her room and the colours of this base were just the right match. Having made her purchase she put out a request for someone to do the re-wiring and soon worked out a trade with Thomas. Cathy visited Thomas’ workplace, a veritable cavern of interesting mechanical fixtures and he worked out the fittings she required. Luckily he had a spare piece of flex and she only needed to purchase the fittings for the shade, so the re-cycling pattern Cathy so appreciated, continued.

Cathy has been a member of Timebank for about 2 years now and has volunteered at the Curtain Bank, taken rubbish to the tip and several other small jobs. She likes the idea that everybody’s skills are recognised in an equal w

ay and feels the time-credits are a wonderful way of acknowledging that. Cathy sees Timebank as a kind of ‘community reciprocity’ – even if two people don’t have a mutual exchange, the links of a chain in the network are begun and the communal benefit multiplies.

Thomas moved from France to Wellington, with his wife, just over a year ago and they both joined Timebank shortly after arriving. Although he was able to get a job almost immediately, his wife Clem, found it harder and she thought Timebank would get them involved in a variety of activities and be a way of meeting new people.  They found the whole concept an interesting one and were very surprised to find how many people were keen to be involved in voluntary work.

Thomas’ skills repairing and fixing all sorts of household items have kept him busy, and although both Thomas and Clem used a number of time-credits in the Christmas Gift Shop, he admits to still having a heap to spend. He says it was really useful to use his credits to borrow some power tools shortly after he arrived, before he was properly set-up. Creative he certainly is and, having worked as a swimming pool technician, one of his more unusual trades has been to transform a spa pool into a duck pond!

Thomas would certainly encourage people to become Timebank members because you definitely meet some interesting people and it is not just the same type of person. They have been to a number of social events now and on one occasion ended up meeting a man who invited them to join him on his boat. An opportunity which they wouldn’t normally have expected to happen.  

Thomas was happy to help Cathy with the lamp base and fittings as he believes it is good to give your time to help others with things that they cannot do. And Cathy is equally happy, she says, ‘It looks really good in its place and when I find the right shade it will look brilliant.’

Story by Sue Jenkins