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In Your Network: Sarah Bird FRSA

As the Chief Executive of Timebanking UK, Sarah is doing something quite unusual within the third sector; requesting people's time, rather than their money. She explains how the timebanking methodology also helps to boost the confidence and happiness of those involved.


1)Please give a brief explanation of what it is you do and why?

I am the CEO of Timebanking UK which is a Charity and the only membership organisation in the country that provides advice, support, resources and training for those wanting to start up community time banks or embed timebanking into their organisations or regions.  Timebanking is a simple mechanism where local people can trade time (not money) and where everyone’s time is equal.  By focusing on the strengths of people we can build stronger, more resilient communities, creating mutual support networks across the country.

2)Why did you join the RSA?

Our Founding Adviser Martin Simon is also a Fellow and spoke highly of the RSA. He felt that the membership was advantageous to our organisation.

3)What are you passionate about?

Having run a time bank myself, I have seen the difference it makes to people’s lives, especially those who feel they have nothing to offer or give, and who feel ignored by their communities. Because timebanking focuses on the strengths people have, no matter why age or ability, it brings back self esteem and confidence. Once people feel connected and appreciated by others, it makes them feel happier and healthier and as such I would like to see a time bank on every high street in the country.

4)What makes you angry?

More frustration than anger – getting to grips with social media and other technology and just when Facebook seems manageable, having your teenage children telling you that it is so ‘yesterday’!

5)What would you change in society given the chance?

Having a shift away from a ‘blame’ culture to one with more trust, friendship and kindness.  

6)What is the most important lesson you’ve ever learnt?

Don’t take people for granted.  Believe in yourself because you CAN do it.

7)What recent bit of news have you heard which inspires you?

How animals and pets can aid the recovery in people from both physical disabilities and mental illness combatting loneliness and isolation at the same time.

8)Tell us about another interesting Fellow you have spoken to.

Not many yet, but watch this space...

9)What would you like to connect with Fellows about? 

Opportunities to meet with them and their communities to share ideas and common interests.