A system where people trade skills for free has been helping keep spirits across the borough high.

The TimeBank, based at the Big Local Shop, Leeming Road, Borehamwood, sees people offer their skills in return for time credits, which they can spend when they need help.

Under the scheme, which launched six months ago, one can offer swimming lessons or art classes in return for building work or gardening work, for instance.

Full-time mum Donna Inwood says the project is a “fantastic” way to help people during the cash-strapped times.

The Shenley resident added: “Helping someone gives you a real sense of accomplishment and I love offering my services to the Time Bank.

“I have been helping people, particularly the elderly, fill out tricky forms and they all seem really grateful.

“Now that I have stored up credits I am going to get the building work on my house done for free – all in all, it is a really good and effective system.”

Members of the Timebank, supported by Community Action Hertsmere, are hoping to get as many people on board to help support their cause.

The scheme is free and people of all ages and all different backgrounds are eligible to sign up.

Vanessa and Roger Sparrowhawk were inspired to donate their time when hearing about Take Part, a new scheme designed to encourage people to start volunteering.

Retired careers advice Mrs Sparrowhawk, 72, said: “Just last year I helped a teenager who dreamed of becoming a nurse write her personal statement to get into university.

“Putting my skills to good use made me feel really good about myself and she later told me she was pleased with the end result.

“My husband and I decided to use our credits to learn about vegetarian cookery – that goes to show volunteering can actually be very enjoyable.

“We ended up having a fantastic day in the kitchen and it has inspired us to continue with the Time Bank.

“Roger is planning on donating art classes and swimming lessons – he is looking forward to getting started.”

To find out more about the Time Bank, ring 020 8386 4006.