Impact 2017: Improving outcomes, building communities

We’ve been busy over the past year and are delighted to be able to share our new online impact report. This impact is a truly collective effort across our partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors working together to with local people to raise levels of volunteering and open up new opportunities.

Working with our independent evaluators Apteligen, this year over 1,200 people responded to our outcomes survey across five regions of England and Wales and we’ve categorised the results across the following four areas:

We’ve been volunteering our time

“Time Credits has given me motivation to keep volunteering time that is very valuable for me as I am a full time carer for a profoundly disabled child. I also think Time Credits rewards you for your time.” Volunteer, Haringey

Time Credits continue to attract new people in to volunteering in large numbers. Nationally 49% of people report that they had never or rarely volunteered before earning Time Credits. 78% report that due to Time Credits they feel more able to contribute to their community and other people and 16% have formed a new group or project. These results demonstrate how Time Credits support important changes in levels of participation leading to important increases in community led activity and outcomes.

“Earning time credits for voluntary organisations gives incentives to carry on helping others, it also makes you feel appreciated. It helps when money is tight and allows you to take your family out for the day at a very minimal cost, it is makes you feel good when you can give others less fortunate than you some time credits to allow them to spend time with family and enjoy themselves. It doesn’t just benefit you it benefits your children and those around you.” Volunteer, West Norfolk

We’ve been learning and doing

“Time credits allow me to access opportunities I never knew were possible to me. I have benefited myself in many ways and grown as a person although I can find it scary and make myself ill through worrying I have the confidence now to push through it and in the end realise I actually enjoy what I just did.” Volunteer, West Norfolk

Earning and spending Time Credits provide countless opportunities for people to try new activities, learn skills and develop new interests. For example, 35% have learned new skills and 70% have shared skills with others in the community. We have also seen a huge increase in people spending Time Credits across our networks with 55,000 spent across partners ranging from National Trust sites and St Paul’s Cathedral to local community centre events and classes.

“[I enjoy] taking my grandchildren places or if I am not well I give them the credits to go with their parents ….I love to see their faces ….and also having my hair done gives me a boost…” Volunteer, Rhondda Cynon Taf

We’ve been making new friends

“The best thing about spending time credits has been using them to take friends out to social events which neither I nor they would necessarily have been able to afford otherwise. Lack of money can be socially isolating, but time credits have the potential to ease that predicament somewhat.” Volunteer, Cardiff

Connecting people is at the heart of how our model works and achieves impact. The data shows how Time Credits are connecting people both within community groups and services and across the community though wider community activity and spending Time Credits. 49% of people have told us they have made new friends as a result of Time Credits and 63% feel less lonely. Earning and spending Time Credits is giving people an important tool to take control and 66% of people tell us that the experience of Time Credits makes them feel more positive about the future.

We’ve been feeling healthier

“As someone who suffers from mental health issues, it has meant that I can treat myself to the cinema or beauty treatments (for example) without feeling guilty. It’s helped not put a strain on finances too. All of this and spending time with local people has together improved my mental health a great deal :)” Volunteer, Cambridgeshire

Being involved in the community, spending time with peers as well as accessing opportunities provided by our spend network is having positive effects on people’s health and well-being across all our programmes. This is both a combination of direct and indirect benefits. 79% are reporting improved quality of life, 24% are more physically active and 19% are reporting improved mental health. Time Credits are also helping to remove barriers to becoming healthier with 68% of people more able to afford to do new activities and 66% feeling more confident.

“Used the Time Credits for family pass for swimming in Lc2 Swansea – great saving and children really enjoyed so now has become a regular family activity great family time and keeps us fit and healthy great x” Volunteer, Carmarthenshire

If you would like to learn more about impact and work please contact Mark Caffrey