Mel has been involved in a number of swaps during her years with Time Swap and has helped bring out people's musical side while getting help in her garden and allotment in return.
What made you decide to join the Derbyshire Time Swap?
I thought it was a brilliant idea! It brings people from all sorts of backgrounds together with a desire to help people form a community. The Time Swap system enables busy people, often working, to be involved in voluntary work. It can be difficult for this age range to justify voluntary work, especially if they have dependants.
What activities did you exchange?
I have given piano lessons, guitar lessons, helped someone take things to the recycling centre, acted as a guide for a local nature walk and initiated, with two other Time Swap members, a music group.
I have also learned how to begin lace bobbin work and attended a fun wreath making session.
I have had help sorting letters and books, help in my garden (a task force of 6 members), help cleaning up after a kitchen flood, help selling things on eBay, help with weeding and watering my allotment and help minding our dog.
How did getting involved expand your social networks?
I met a lot of new people from different backgrounds, some of them have become good friends. The Time Swap friends are special because you feel you can ask them to help you with anything. Members become such good friends because they believe in the scheme and its reciprocal nature. Their involvement comes from love, kindness and the desire to create a thriving, caring community.
What skills have you developed?
I learned how to make lace using lace bobbin equipment and tuition and was shown how to make a Christmas wreath. Three Time Swap members formed a traditional music group which has grown to over 14 members. We now run two music sessions a month and other events, such as a charity performance for a residential home.
What gave you the most satisfaction?
Setting up the music group as it involved so many people and has been a lot of fun.
How has it benefited you?
I have enjoyed seeing the Time Swap group grow, it restores my faith in the kindness of human beings. It has helped me get to know a lot more people and build links to my local community.
What 3 words would you use to sum up your Time Swap experience?
Heart-warming. Generous. Fun.