What is the potential for community currencies to deliver positive public health outcomes? Case study of Time Credits in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, UK

30 Oct 2017

There is evidence that increased levels of community engagement and social participation can improve population health. Community currencies such as Time Credits are one way to support and encourage people to be more involved in their local community. As a result, they have attracted investment by local governments in the UK, with the hope of finding new ways to work with deprived communities, improve individual outcomes that lead to better health, and reduce the use of public services at a time of financial austerity. The aim of this research was to evaluate the health related outcomes of volunteering through Time Credits in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. The conceptual model developed during the research shows how Time Credits were expected to influence some of the social determinants of health and, by doing so, enhance health outcomes and reduce health inequalities. This in depth empirical study shows the potential of such activity to support pathways to better health, but equally demonstrates the challenges in quantifying such outcomes and in evidencing any reduction in the use of public services as a result.