Trading Tales: It takes a difference to make a difference

There's a Timebanker in Island Bay with a difference – and he’s making a big difference too. Rex found out about the Timebank through Lindsey at IDEA Services, part of IHC New Zealand, an organisation which works to empower those with intellectual disabilities. Lindsey thought time banking would be empowering for Rex, and in turn Rex liked the idea of getting out and meeting different people.

Together they visited Hannah at the Timebank and although Rex says it was “scary” at first, Hannah made him feel very welcome.

Since then there has been no stopping Rex. He delivered pamphlets around Island Bay for a Timebank event – “That was fun, that was awesome,” he says – as well as helping Ryan, the IDEA Services Volunteer Coordinator move offices, and he also repainted a picnic table for the Island Bay Community Centre, where he volunteers weekly. During these weekly visits he earns time credits by updating the Timebank noticeboard with news for Island Bay members.

Colin, the Island Bay Community Centre Coordinator, says that one of the advantages of the Timebank is that it has given him and Rex a mutual interest.

“We find that we have lots of different things to talk about that we might not otherwise have.”

Rex agrees, and says that he really enjoys having a regular job to do each week.

“I like working with Colin and seeing what people are offering and requesting. It’s good fun putting up the notices.”

Rex has thought a lot about what else he has to offer. His offers include putting up notices, general handyman jobs, pet feeding, stuffing envelopes and cleaning cars.

In return he would like to ask Angie, a chef from the Timebank, to bake him a cake which he could share with his flatmates.

“I’d like that,” says Rex, “I’ll ask her next time I see her.”

The Timebank has made a positive difference to Rex’s life and he believes it has even made him “a better person”. He has learnt new skills as he has become more familiar with his Timebank duties and doesn’t need as much supervision.

Now Rex has a new goal. He would like to learn how to edit the Word documents before printing them and putting them on the noticeboard.

The monthly Island Bay coffee catch ups have also been great for Rex. He says that they are important to him and he turns up every month to meet new people and catch up with those he already knows. Rex says that he has a bigger circle of friends, and he now says hi to the people from the coffee catch ups when he passes them on the street.

Rex is looking forward to the Timebank first birthday celebrations.

“I can’t wait for that. I’ll be there”.

Finally, Rex hopes he can inspire other people, including those with disabilities, to come forward and join the Timebank, as he feels safe with the people he has met.

“They’re good people”.

Jen Niven