1. How is Our Monmouthshire different from other volunteering sites?
Our Monmouthshire is a social networking platform created to help communities share information, make connections and exchange kind offers of help. The aim is to help Monmouthshire residents access local support and offer assistance to neighbours where they can.
We know that it’s often the small acts of kindness that make a biggest difference to people in our communities. This platform provides a place where people can offer help to neighbours or ask for help from others.
2. How can I use the platform to give or find help?
2a. The timebank / skill exchange
By joining the timebank, you can make an offer of help, for example: “I can teach IT skills for 1hr per week”. Another member can take up the offer and then mark as complete when done. Once complete, you will receive virtual credits for your time which your can spend on requests or offers from others.
2b. Micro volunteering
The platform also provides a feature for local groups and community projects ask for just a small amounts of help from local volunteers for example; "help to run a stall at the village fete" or "plant tree in the local park", rather than the longer term commitment some voluntary organisations need or provide. We call this "micro volunteering".
3. I already work with volunteers in my community – how can this platform help our work?
Existing volunteer groups can use the platform to communicate and organise their tasks via private team spaces. Here they can create chat rooms, share documents and set tasks for volunteers they work with.
There may also be some people who find out about such groups for the first time via the platform or others may see what can be done and be inspired into action in their own community.
4. How do I join Our Monmouthshire?
Joining is a simple process which starts with signing up. We’ve created a step by step guide to show you how to get started here.
5. Do I need any special skills or a CV to join?
No, you don’t need any qualifications, special skills or a CV, just a willingness to offer help to others or ask for it if needed.
6. What do I need to add to my profile?
Your public profile is a place to share some information about you with the whole community. You can choose to hide certain information from your public profile. We recommend sharing some basic information such as any hobbies or interests you have or the type of job you normally do or did before retiring.
You don’t have to share things like your exact age, just some basic information so that other users feel they know and trust you if you are offering help. You can see a sample real profile here.
7. Will I need a photo to sign up?
Having a photo on your profile allows other users to put a name to a face. If you don’t have a photo of yourself then why not upload a picture of your favourite place or from a hobby you have.
If you’re stuck for what to use then please ask and our team will add a suitable photo for you based on the information you add in your profile as this user did.
8. Can I join Our Monmouthshire if I need help but can’t offer anything in return?
Yes you can.
Our Monmouthshire is made up of lots of local people and organisations from all across the county who provide help and support to each other. There’s no obligation to offer help if you are unable to give it and in these uncertain times it’s even more important that those that need help let others know.
If you need immediate emergency help or assistance please contact the specialist team here.
The ethos of timebanking is that everyone has something to offer, however small. Have you taken a look at our suggestions for what you could offer to the timebank?
9. Does it cost anything to be a member of Our Monmouthshire?
No. Its free to all end users. Our Monmouthshire is a community platform provided by Monmouthshire County Council for everyone to use.
10. What sort of things could I add as offers or requests for help?
There are all sorts of things that can be shared with your local community – or across the county. From delivering essential groceries to neighbours or chatting on the phone, to creating fun fitness videos to lift peoples' spirits.
11. What is Timebanking?
Timebanking is a national scheme where people can earn time credits for doing favours for others in their community. Credits can then be spent on offers made by others. No money is involved and it’s a quick and simple way to exchange small acts of help and assistance. This diagram explains how the process works via the Our Monmouthshire platform.
Before you can start a timebank exchange, you are required to complete a second step registration to join the timebank. To register for the timebank please complete the application form.
12. What is a Street Coordinator and what is involved?
A Street Coordinator has two main roles:
- To act as a key point of contact for platform members, volunteers and people in the community needing help and support.
- To co-ordinate volunteers who are supporting others in your community.
To find out more about being a Street Coordinator visit our Street Coordinator page.
13. I’m interested in joining but how can I trust members and information on this platform?
Your safety is important to us. Safeguarding is vitally important for anyone who volunteers to help others and those receiving help from strangers. Our Monmouthshire offers a safer alternative to many other social media platforms that people are using to exchange help and support.
Local organisations are invited to add their service listings which are checked by the team before going live. Members of the public are required to go through a reference checking process before they can join the time bank and start exchanging offers and requests with other members.
We have a page dedicated to this important issue which sets out the help you need to keep yourself and others safe here.
14. What is the ‘Love your neighbour’ campaign?
The ‘Love your neighbour’ campaign is a way of tagging anything you put online with the tag #loveyourneighbour to show your support during the Coronavirus pandemic.
In these tough times for everyone, sharing kindness and happy, positive messages can help anyone overwhelmed by the situation or stuck at home with nobody to talk to or relatives hundreds of miles away.
15. I’m not that confident with using platforms and apps. Is this site easy to use?
Even before the current lockdown, the world of online shopping, websites and ‘apps’ could bewilder anyone so don’t worry if you’re not sure how it all works.
We have tried to make our user interface as easy and intuitive as possible, but it still may take a bit of time to get used to all the features and tools on offer.
We have created a help page full of guides and video tutorials to help you navigate your way around the site. Just click here.
17. My question isn't answered here - who can help?
If you cannot find what you are looking for or need help, please contact us.