AN imaginative scheme to reward volunteers for giving up their time has been launched in Winsford.

Time Credits recognises people who help others in the community by offering them 'currency' which they can exchange for something they enjoy like swimming or going to the cinema.

The project invites businesses to come on board to provide the free treats and is appealing for more volunteers to take part and offer help to the elderly in particular.

Residents willing to help, organisations who need volunteers and local companies keen to reward people who give up their time attended an open meeting at the Red Lion last Wednesday.

Harriet Pugh, network manager for Time Credits, said: "It was great, lots of people turned up.

"Time Credits are a way of recognising the amazing things people do in their communities. It's about valuing the time and skills people have.

"If people give an hour of their time they are then given an hour to spend on something they would like to do such as going to the gym, watch a football match or attend an exhibition.

"The 'currency' takes the form of physical notes similar to bank notes."

Damon Horrill, from Cornerstone Inns on Wharton Road, said: "I thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people at the workshop, unsung heroes who quietly go about helping to improve the lives in Winsford.

"As a business we can see the value in supporting this initiative both in terms of showing time givers some appreciation for what they do and in encouraging isolated residents to get involved with positive initiatives and local activities.

"We look forward to time givers being able to exchange Time Credits for admission to gigs, concerts and nights out and would encourage all activity orientated businesses locally to get on board."

A spokesman for Open Winsford said: "We are very excited about working on Time Credits. It was marvellous to see so many locally based volunteer led organisations represented and networking.

"By working together the initiative has a much greater chance of success.

"We hope the level of interest results in the formation of a network of organisations and time givers and that we can become a great example of what Time Credits can do for a community."

Anyone interested is invited to afternoon tea at the Cosy Tea Room on Delamere Street from 2pm to 4pm on Friday, October 19 or the Red Lion on Wharton Road from 6pm to 8pm on Tuesday, October 23.

Time Credits are being earned and spent all over the country as a network of more than 35,000 people give their time to the community.

Winsford is the first place in Cheshire West to take up the scheme.