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Join the Sophia Hubs timebank and connect with community businesses across Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 10:00 10 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:23 10 May 2017

Reporter Matthew Clemenson, centre, leading a session on media relations at Sophia Hubs' Redbridge Timebank. Picture: Ralph Blackburn

Reporter Matthew Clemenson, centre, leading a session on media relations at Sophia Hubs' Redbridge Timebank. Picture: Ralph Blackburn

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Local businessmen and women coming together to help each other out is the focus of one feelgood community enterprise.

The Redbridge timebank, run by Redbridge’s small business support group Sophia Hubs, was named the community champion group at this year’s Mayor’s Community Awards in March.

The timebank sees experts hold hour-long sessions on skills they specialise in, before claiming back the hour they’ve spent at a later date in another session run by a different expert.

To find out what all the fuss was about, two Recorder reporters went down to Mont Rose College’s new campus on Cranbrook Road and gave a session on how to write press releases on Thursday night.

We were up against sessions teaching how to buy and sell things on eBay, the key tennets of personal well-being and one-on-one business growth sessions with a specialist – just a small taster of the variety of skills on offer.

Ros Southern, creator of Sophia Hubs, told the Recorder the timebank was a way for Redbridge residents to help one another develop the skills that contribute to a professional business.

She told the Recorder: “It’s about tapping the resources that are already here.

“It’s incredibly joyful to know that there are so many so many different things people can offer each other – and that they’re always willing to.

“That’s exactly what Sophia Hubs is all about, helping people connect and letting local businesses work collaboratively.”

Amal Simothy, 45, an Ilford accountant who regularly runs financial advising sessions with the timebank , praised the way the timebank helps bring local people together.

“It’s part of the community,” he said. “Tt’s about giving back. I give people advice on starting their own business.

“The Timebank is one of the great selling points of Sophia Hubs.

“In Redbridge a lot of people cannot afford to get a loan out of a bank straight away, so this helps people without lots of money access expertise.

“The strangest thing I’ve heard people swapping is probably massages.”

And Ruth Pearson, a 52-year-old education consultant from Newbury Park with 25 years’ experience in education, was also full of praise for the social aspects of the group.

She said: “I got out of teaching, but Ros encouraged me to use my skills, so I have come to do sessions on wellbeing.

“It’s nice to mix up, and meet people who are on their own journey, and support them along the way.”

Although it will still run its public skill swap sessions, Sophia Hubs is currently moving from grant reliance to income generation, and as such is setting up a membership scheme.

The group’s next community networking event will be held on May 13 from 2-5.30pm at Barkingside Library.

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