Wisbech volunteer Lauren helps Cambridgeshire Time Credits scoop national award

Dara O'Briain presents volunteer Lauren Clarke with the MJ award along with the Cambridgeshire Time

Dara O'Briain presents volunteer Lauren Clarke with the MJ award along with the Cambridgeshire Time Credits team - Credit: Archant

A Wisbech volunteer has helped a county-wide project scoop a major national award.

Lauren Clarke, 22, says she has developed skills and confidence since volunteering through Cambridgeshire Time Credits which has led her to finding work and providing a better life for her family.

She attended the MJ Local Government Achievement Awards where the scheme won the excellence in community engagement category, beating six other short-listed councils.

Lauren Clarke said: “I joined Cambridgeshire Time Credits through my local children’s centre to provide a better life for my son, and to give something back to the community.

“Gradually my confidence grew through helping groups, giving me the skills I needed to gain employment.

“Now I feel I can do anything. I’ve even volunteered to speak in front of hundreds of people about the impact time credits had on me.”

Wendy Lansdown, community engagement manager of Cambridgeshire County Council, added: “Lauren has been an amazing volunteer and has developed her confidence whilst making a huge contribution to her local community, developing a social club which puts on a range of activities from discos to Easter eggstravaganzas.

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“The time credits initiative has had a phenomenal impact in Cambridgeshire. It is bringing communities together in ways we could never have predicted, from bingo nights, to organisations using the network to develop employment opportunities.”

For every hour a person gives to their community, they earn one printed time credit that can be “spent” on community, cultural and leisure activities in the Cambridgeshire area and nationally at venues across England and Wales.

Activities include swimming, adult education classes, cinema trips and visiting national landmarks such as the Tower of London.

The scheme was developed by Cambridgeshire County Council joining forces with social enterprise Spice, who deliver time credit schemes across the country.

Locally, the scheme is available in Chatteris, Ely, Littleport, March and Wisbech.

For more information about Cambridgeshire Time Credits contact Mark Caffrey by emailing markcaffrey@justaddspice.org or visit http://justaddspice.org/