An innovative new project which sees vulnerable people rewarded for volunteering in their local communities, has launched in Cornwall.

The Cornwall Time Credits programme is aimed at people with complex needs, including those with experience of homelessness; drugs and alcohol problems, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

They are encouraged to get involved within their local communities by identifying their interests and talents, and using them to play an active role within the services they access.

The scheme, commissioned by Cornwall Council and Community Safety Partnership and run by time-banking charity Tempo, has seen participants develop new hobbies, skills and confidence and engage in their communities in a more meaningful way.

Tempo Time Credits CEO Ian Merrill said: “We are very excited to formally launch Cornwall Time Credits, collaborating with public services and voluntary and community organisations, and the private sector to encourage more people to give time to their community, whilst recognising their valuable contributions. Tempo can demonstrate - from across the country - the benefits that Time Credits bring to individuals and their communities.”

Participants can earn Time Credits for hours contributed, which can then be "spent" on community, cultural and leisure activities in the local area such as the Seal Sanctuary, Minack theatre, Tate St Ives and from October 30 at 14 Leisure Centres across the county.

Cornwall residents can spend their credits across Tempo’s national network of partners, including attractions such as the Blackpool Tower and St Paul’s Cathedral, if they go out of the area.

The programme was launched in the Safer Penzance area at the beginning of year, and is now being run by both Safer St Austell and Safer Truro. Over the next two years the project will be Cornwall wide.

The official launch of Cornwall Time Credits in Penzance on Tuesday brought together agencies and individuals involved with Time Credits to celebrate and publicise the arrival of this innovative project, the first in the South West.

Cornwall-based organisations in the commercial, leisure and cultural sectors interested in joining the programme can elect to become part of Tempo’s nationwide network of corporate partners.

Paul Walker, the Chief Fire Officer for Cornwall, who opened the Launch event said: “It’s great to be involved in such a positive project that is making a huge difference to individuals, helping them to give back to communities where they have been supported and subsequently building community resilience.”

Kim Hager, Joint Commissioning Manager at Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Drug and Alcohol team, said: “This is such an exciting project and we are delighted to be working in partnership with Tempo Time Credits to deliver it throughout Cornwall.

"The scheme supports the Council’s ambitions for safer and healthier communities by prioritising our most vulnerable residents. If we can get it right with the most vulnerable, we can get it right for everyone.

"By building their skills and confidence through volunteering, the programme not only helps the individuals, but brings more back to local communities. I look forward to working with the Tempo Time Credits team.”

Contact project manager Bethany Ward at or 07578181277 for more information.