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  • Staying well, connected to others and resilient

Tempo Time Credits Earn and spend time credits in the community

What is the problem this innovation solves?

Many people would like to volunteer to support their community but do not know how to get involved, feel that they do not have anything to offer or are wary of making a big time commitment. In the health and social care sector in particular, the financial downturn has placed increased demand on voluntary and community organisations to deliver frontline services. In many cases, a small number of individuals that volunteer are often heavily depended upon, and this over reliance is risky for communities, VCSE organisations and individuals.


Tempo Time Credits are a time-based currency that incentivises people to volunteer. People earn Time Credits when they give their time and spend them on a wide range of activities they choose, selecting opportunities from across Tempo’s national network of spend partners.

The benefits of Time Credits include:

  • More people volunteering
  • Improved health and wellbeing
  • A stronger voluntary sector
  • Better designed services

Evidence Base

Tempo works to enable more people to volunteer, because giving your time and feeling valued improves health, happiness and future prospects. There is considerable evidence to show that volunteering leads to positive health & wellbeing outcomes for an individual. See NCVO for the most up-to-date published research.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge recently completed an 18 month research project into the public health outcomes of the Cambridgeshire Time Credits programme.

In addition, Tempo’s 2018 impact evaluation, carried out by independent consultants Apteligen, found that participation in Time Credits leads to positive outcomes for individuals across a wide range of social, health and wellbeing indicators. 78% of people surveyed who participated in Time Credits reported feeling more confident, 82% reported improved quality of life, 45% reported they could afford to do more things and 64% took part in more community activity. 

Expected impact

Through the introduction of Time Credits, public services, voluntary and community organisations are able to recruit new volunteers from diverse backgrounds and retain existing volunteers. Within public services, engagement with Time Credits leads to more co-produced services as service users become more involved in shaping service design and delivery. Participation in Time Credits also leads to a wide range of positive health and wellbeing outcomes for individuals.

Stage/ spread (where it is/ how much is there?)

Tempo works with a wide range of local stakeholders, including local authorities, NHS service providers and charities to design, fund and deliver Time Credits programmes. To date over 56,000 people have earned over 900,000 Time Credits across England and Wales.

The Time Credits ‘spend network’ is made up of hundreds of corporate partners spread across our programmes in England and Wales.


What would councils/ local areas need to do or have in place to enable it to happen?

Time Credits are a flexible tool and can be applied in many settings. Tempo looks for commitment and enthusiasm from commissioners to embed Time Credits fully in a service or locality.

What would kill it?

  • Use of Time Credits on products as opposed to time-based services or activities.
  • Devaluation of currency through lack of adherence to Tempo’s code of practice for Time Credits.

Where to go for more information

  • •           Visit wearetempo.org

    •           Look us up @tempo_tweets

    •           Contact Jude@wearetempo.org

    This animation from the University of Cambridge research shows the journey of an individual that participates in Time Credits & the impact.

    *Tempo was formerly known as Spice Time Credits. We changed the name in late 2018.