Georgina Corely, from the St Neots Timebank, attended a national conference in Uxbridge to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the concept, which is now available in 22 countries worldwide.

Edgar S Cahn, a distinguished professor and former counsel and speech writer to Robert F Kennedy, created the first timebank in the US and in the UK, the first one was set up in 1998. There are now 250.

The conference was held at Brunel University, Uxbridge, and Professor Cahn, now aged 83, attended the event along with Christine Gray, from the US, and timebank co-ordinators from Italy, Spain, Japan, Portugal and England.

Patron of TBUK, Lord Colin Low of Dalston, opened the event with a key note address and author David Boyle and Robert Buckland MP also spoke.

Timebanking is based on the principle that a person gives one hour of a skill or support and in return is able to bank an hour, which can be used at a later date. To work well people need to ask for assistance as well as to offer help.

The two-day event included workshops and celebrations, including the launch of a new database, Timeonline2 and a Home from Hospital project. St Neots Timebank's coordinator Georgina Corley was invited to the event and she said: “This was a great opportunity to display the successes and achievements of the St Neots group, and learn about other timebanks.

“The story of one of our members, who suffered from deep dark periods of depression, was chosen to be featured in the event booklet.”

Georgina gave a talk briefly describing how the St Neots Timebank started in March 2012. This was well received and led to Edgar Cahn requesting the full story of what inspired the formation of the group for inclusion in a book.

The St Neots' group has been recognised as the UK's top timebank.

Mrs Corley added: “The St Neots Timebank has an advisory team that helps with all the events, so this award was also recognition for the help they have given to make the timebank what it is today. It has reached a total of 214 members with 7,380 recorded hours of exchanges given.

“The aim is to help those who either can't or don't know how to do jobs or tasks or are just too busy.

The St Neots Timebank meets on the first Saturday of the month at St Mary's church rooms, in St Neots, from 11am till 1.30pm. Drop in for a chat and meet members at the new friends group at the Priory Centre on the third Friday of the month, from 11-12.30pm. For more information, go to: www.stneotstimebank.org.uk.