An intitiative to encourage more people to volunteer in the community was launched in the Illawarra on Monday.
Timebanking, a program run by the NSW government, lets volunteers exchange time credits for their efforts. For each hour a volunteer spends on a project, they earn one hour of credit that can be used to receive a volunteer service from another member.
Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello met community groups and students from Warilla North Public School at Crew Park in Warilla to announce his hopes to establish 30 new timebanking groups across the state.
A pilot timebanking project was launched in the Hunter and Central Coast regions in August last year and has so far attracted 3600 people.
Mr Dominello said timebanking gave further encouragement for people to make a difference in their community.
‘‘It brings communities together, pure and simple. It enables people with a strong volunteering ethos, which we do have here in communities like Warilla, to harness that passion.
‘‘Australians do have a strong volunteering ethos and when you have timebanking to plant that seed in communities, people will seize on that.
‘‘Timebanking works when it’s local, and that’s why it’s working so well in the Hunter and I have no doubt it will just as quickly work here.’’
Volunteers from a large number of community groups have been working hard for the past two years to improve the playground at Crew Park.
Nikke Gladwin from Healthy Cities Illawarra, one of the groups facilitating the Child Friendly by Design 2528 Project at the park, thought the timebanking initiative would encourage more people to volunteer their time.
‘‘I think timebanking overall will really raise the profile of volunteering, so we can have projects like this in the community,’’ she said.
People can register to take part in timebanking at www.timebanking.com.au.