A pioneering scheme was officially launched this morning rewarding people for volunteering in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
Willing helpers can sign up to CareBank and earn credits for assisting vulnerable 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.
Minister for Care Services Paul Burstow MP was at the launch to meet staff and volunteers.
He said: "This isn't a replacement for the work of Social Services or the NHS it adds on top and fills the gap they can't.
"It's about supporting people just by spending time with them and having a chat or cup of tea and that can make a huge difference."
Sue Gibson, who previously worked for Shopmobility, is co-ordinating the pilot which will run for a year.
She already has 19 volunteers signed up and 18 more going through the required CRB checks.
Each hour of work volunteers do will earn them one credit and an online 'banking' system has been set up where volunteers can store them.
Credits can exchanged at a variety of borough venues with more to be added in the future.
Angela Cassidy, 62, signed up in January and has spent volunteer time with Maidenhead resident Sue Hailes helping her clean her flat or just having a cup of tea.
Angela said: "It's a very good idea.
"I have got an elderly mother who is in need of this sort of befriending so I may give my credits to her to use."
-1 credit for a 50 per cent discount on swimming or gym use at the Magnet or Windsor Leisure Centre.
-1 credit for a 50 per cent discount on DVD or spoken word rentals at borough libraries.
-1 credit for a cup of tea or coffee and slice of cake at the Running Man Cafe in Dedworth
-4 credits for a 10 per cent discount on plants and goods from the shop at Braywick Heath Nurseries
-4 credits for a film ticket for The Firestation Arts Centre, Windsor
-8 credits for 50 per cent off annual membership to The Firestation, Windsor
Visit www.wrvs.org.uk or call Sue on 01628 782678.
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