LETS stands for Local Exchange & Trading Scheme. It is a national network of community-based mutual aid groups. LETS schemes enable members to exchange skills, goods and services without using money and offers opportunities to all. It is a bit like an organised barter system.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
South Oxfordshire LETS is the scheme local to Wallingford, Henley and surrounding districts. It is a voluntary, non-profit-making group, run and managed by the members. We also organise social events, outings and an annual holiday.
Members, trade skills, goods and services and pay using our units of currency, called Castles. As you earn and spend Castles, they will be added to, or deducted from, your LETS account via email. An electronic record will be kept and periodically you will get a statement of your account.
On joining you will receive 20 Castles so that you can start trading immediately.
You pay Castles to the member who has helped you and you will receive castles when you help another member.
It is suggested that you charge 6 Castles per hour for trades that involve time, such as gardening or offering a lift etc, although this is open to negotiation. If you are offering professional skills and wish to charge a higher rate, this should be agreed at the start.
Trading is paid for in Castles. Any cash payments e.g. for petrol or materials etc. should be paid directly to the person providing the help.
Your LETS account can be ‘overdrawn’ – there is no penalty. This means you don’t have to earn Castles before you can spend them.
The usual way to find help with something (e.g. gardening) or borrow things (e.g. electric drill) is to contact LETS members on our group email and if anybody can help, they will reply directly to you.
WHO CAN JOIN?
Anyone over the age of 14 can become a member of South Oxfordshire LETS.
The type of trade you can do on LETS is only limited by your imagination and trading keeps us in touch with each other too. Simple, everyday things are often all someone needs help with.
The system works best with a wide variety of goods and skills on offer – some ideas include:
- collect a prescription or run an errand
- hiring things out (e.g. tent, barbeque, building tools, electrical tools, ladder)
- dog-walking/cat-sitting or plant watering for people away on holiday
- trading fruit and veg (sell your glut of plums), fresh herbs, excess plants etc
- helping out with cleaning, decorating, putting up a shelf
- lawn cutting, pruning, weeding, digging
- being an extra pair of hands for house-moving or children’s parties
- collecting visitors from the station, driver to the airport, late-night lift home from the theatre
All LETS members are in a Directory, which lists their name, address, telephone number and email address. The Directory also includes a list of skills offered by members.
LETS members offer many skills and services including: DIY, homeopathy, house cleaning, baby-sitting, wine-making, organic vegetables, computer tuition, garden design, desserts for special meals, astrological charts, aromatherapy, sewing, cat feeding, celebration cakes, massage, translation (Polish, Russian, French, Italian, Nordic languages), menu planning, CV preparation, lifts in car……and lots more! All you have to do is ask.
People have found that once they join and get into a LETS way of thinking, more and more possibilities arise. Keep the spirit of LETS going by continuing to trade!
We send out regular Newsletters which keep us all in touch with what’s going on and what’s coming up. It is intended to be fun, and members of LETS do meet for social events, e.g. visit to the Panto in Wallingford, a group holiday, a summer or Christmas get-together.
WHAT DO I DO NEXT?
Complete the accompanying application form for membership, pay the joining fee (details below) and you’ll soon be up and running. Once you become a member, a LETS directory will be sent to you with a quick guide on how LETS operates and all the contact details you’ll need.
If you have any questions, please do contact one of the Core Group – email@example.com