A pioneering scheme will launch next week rewarding people for volunteering in the Royal Borough.
Willing helpers are being called to sign up to CareBank and earn credits for assisting elderly or disabled residents with day-to-day tasks such as mowing the lawn or shopping.
WRVS (Women's Royal Voluntary Service) has signed up in partnership with the Royal Borough to run a one-year pilot of the scheme from its offices in York Road.
It has employed Sue Gibson, who previously worked for Shopmobility, as co-ordinator and Chris Ward as her assistant. A 'soft launch' will start next week utilising about 25 volunteers and a full rollout is expected in March. It is hoped to have 100 volunteers signed up by the end of the year.
You must be aged 16 or over and agree to undergo a CRB check. Volunteers will be evaluated through feedback from beneficiaries. They will be asked to commit to a minimum of one hour per week but there is no cap on the credits they can earn.
Sue said: "The beauty of it is we are not asking people to give set hours. They can do as little or as much as they like. The numbers of people who will ask to receive help are unknown but we do expect there to be a lot."
Each hour of work earns one credit and an online 'banking' system will be set up where volunteers can store them for benefits such as future care needs, leisure activities and discounts on CDs and DVDs. Credits can also be given away to provide care for someone else.
Non-borough residents can sign up but voluntary work must be carried out here and to begin with credits will only be valid within the Royal Borough.
It is hoped a successful pilot here will lead to similar schemes being set up across the UK so that credits can be exchanged nationwide.
Visit www.wrvs.org.uk or call Sue on 01628 782678.
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