LETS (Local Exchange Trading Schemes) are about local trading (without the need for money or credit), using human capital. Membership is open to all, and all kinds of skills are both valued and needed. They are grassroots schemes and need no specialist skills to operate.
A group of local people get together, and compile a directory of skills & goods that they have to offer and need. This directory is then distributed amongst members (printed and/or online) and they exchange skills & goods using a local currency, usually named after a local feature - "Palms" in Falmouth, "Carts" in Redruth, "Shells" in St.Ives, "Creds" in Crediton, "Bobbins" in Manchester.
The currency is information rather than a commodity in its own right. No interest is charged or credited, and there is no stigma about going into debit, as debit represents a future commitment to offer skills to another member, rather than a financial penalty imposed by a third party.
Unlike barter you do not have to trade 1 to 1 (e.g - you may do dog walking for several members, and get lifts, gardening, computer work etc. from others). If you enjoy what you do, whether it is your job or a hobby, someone else on the group will probably benefit from it.
Most of us see the community building side of LETS as being a major benefit - it is a great way of meeting new friends and building a sense of self worth and belonging. LETS also offers people the chance to use skills that they have not tested in the conventional economy, thus building confidence as well as a network of able, versatile people.
Whenever you have a job done you are offering a member "work", so the "Wants" in any LETS are as important as the Offers.
About Falmouth LETS
The Falmouth scheme is currently (as of November 2013) at 86 members, and includes several households and community organisations. The group covers a ten mile radius (approx.)and there are several other groups in Cornwall.
Anyone can join Falmouth LETS by completing an application form and sending their subscription. You can apply to join and print off your own application form online here from home or at Falmouth Library. Please post your completed form with subscription to:
Falmouth LETS c/o 45 Grenville Rd, Falmouth TR11 2NPor bring it to a Falmouth LETS Event.
New members can login to this website, edit their own details, add Offers and Wants and start trading as soon as they have received their account details.
Please Note: All members agree to abide by the Falmouth LETS rules, as stated on the Application Form. We advise members to read the Tips for Traders and information on Tax & Benefits.
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