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Time Swap helps in a new community

JE is a widowed lady in her late 60’s. She lives by herself and moved to the area to be near her niece and help with her children. She has always helped people in paid and unpaid roles. She is quite lonely here when she doesn’t have the children as she left her friends behind so likes to keep herself busy. She is quiet and feels isolated sometimes due to her lack of IT knowledge and confidence and feels IT is needed to do everything nowadays.

How did you find out about Derbyshire Time Swap?

I found out about Time Swap having seen an advert on Facebook. I live on the New Bolsover housing estate where the “planting day event” took place (in May 2023) and spoke to Natalie on the day to find out more information as I remembered the Facebook post.

Why did you decide to join?

To feel part of the community as I was new to this area. Where I used to live was very community focussed. I realise I may need help with things as I am on my own and getting older.

What activities did you exchange?

There are two parts to this swap. The first part was delivering a leaflet to all of the residents (over 200) of the New Bolsover Model Village estate informing them of the Great British Spring Clean event taking place on their estate on 23 March. This took 2.5 hours. Some of the houses had dogs barking so I didn’t post through those doors, and some had rusty nails on the letter box, so I also avoided those. I took my 3-year-old great niece with me to help.

The second part of the swap was participating in the Great British Spring Clean event on the estate on 23 March. I arrived ready for the weather (torrential rain and hail then glorious sunshine) I used the litter picking equipment and started tidying up the estate. It took us about 4 hours to complete the whole estate. During this time, I spoke to Natalie and advised that my niece had told me to buy a laptop as my computer was too old, which I have done but don’t know how to use the laptop. Natalie advised that Citizens Advice Mid Mercia are a Time Swap organisational member and can help with this on a 1-1 basis. She has since connected the two of us together. After the litter picking I stayed with the rest of the team and had lunch and chatted to the other members of the task force and the local councillor.

What was the result from your swap?

A clean litter free housing estate in New Bolsover and I had been in adult contact having adult conversation for 4 hours.

What impact has this had for you?

I felt like I had accomplished something good for the benefit of the community. I got fresh air, exercise and spent time with adult company.

What have you learned?

You can’t plan for the weather!

Final thoughts.

I really enjoyed myself today despite the weather. It's nice to make a difference.

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