Whether we like it or not Covid is having a huge impact on all our lives. Timebanking is one of the tools that can help us all get through the additional challenges it is throwing at us. The importance of community and social networks to ensure that no-one is left ‘behind’ is at the heart of timebanking; respecting each other, and being open to both giving and receiving help. “We strive to respect where people are in the moment, not where we hope they will be at some future point.” (Respect - International Timebanking values) may feel difficult in some cases, but everyone is still of equal worth and has something of value to share.
What we don’t want to be sharing though, is Covid!
As an organisation we don’t want to exclude anyone from Timebanking as a result of their vaccination status. Our membership covers the full spectrum of vaccination stances and we acknowledge individuals have the right to make their own decisions about whether or not to be vaccinated. We ask that everyone is respectful of an individual's decisions, and accepts any limitations on in-person interactions that result because of it.
We do however need to ensure that anything organised as an official Timebank event adheres to the legal framework relating to vaccinations. To not do so puts our future funding at risk, and our Board of Trustees could be held liable. Therefore events will be held in keeping with the ‘traffic light’ system and any subsequent requirements. Further to that, any additional requirements of any venues being used will be met.
Events our organisational members put on that we share with the membership will have their own policies in place, all that we ask is that it is always made clear what the expectations are around vaccine certificates etc.
Where events, and individual exchanges are being held on private property it is up to the Timebanker hosting to make the call as to whether they are okay with unvaccinated, or vaccinated, members coming into their home/grounds, or if unvaccinated need a recent negative Covid test. We know we have a number of medically vulnerable members, or who have vulnerable whānau at home who they wish to protect.
Thus there will be some events not open to the unvaccinated, or only with a negative test, and some events those being particularly cautious may want to keep away from due to unvaccinated people being present. We will endeavour to be clear at all times who is able to be there. There may be occasions where we need to ask for vaccination status in advance of an event so that we can leave it open to anyone, but are able to let anyone know whose participation would depend on there only being vaccinated people present.
In order to assure that there are opportunities for timebankers to meet in community regardless of their vaccination status we will be offering a programme of online events throughout the year. If you do not have a good enough internet connection but wish to participate we will do our best to help you find a member with whom you can meet up with safely in person and join us online with them/their facilities.
Please respect any Offers/Requests that state that a particular vaccination status is required. It may still be possible in some instances to make an exchange possible, eg using a neutral ground pick-up/drop-off or an intermediary delivery driver, contactless delivery, arranging to do a task at times that will eliminate any interaction with anyone vulnerable etc. Remember we have a number of Covid specific categories for exchanges and if you assist someone in this way who is not a timebank member then you can still log your hours with the Community Fund as the service recipient.
It is advisable that we all have a plan in place in case we have to self isolate. Please think through what you might need yourself, and what you may be able to offer others. It might be emergency accommodation for an uninfected family member, someone to care for pets, someone to do shopping etc. Do you know your local timebank members who you could help or could help you?
Covid has placed many additional stresses and strains on us all, and for many it has turned their lives upside down. Timebanking can be part of finding a way to live within the ‘new normal’, and making a positive difference to all our lives.