LETS is an acronym for Local Exchange Trading System, a clumsy title for what is essentially a time bank. The concept is simple and it provides a means of skill swapping replacing ££££ with a local currency. For example, person A is good at and enjoys fixing computers. S/he posts that as something they will do in return for LETS, fixes someone’s computer and is paid in LETS which can be used to pay for the services of any other LETS participant. Later on realises that their garden needs urgent attention so searches the services offered page until a participating gardener is found, work agreed, done and paid for using the previously earned LETS. And so on.
One of the issues that can afflict LETS stems from those who seek to measure their time in ££££ rather than LETS but here there is no discrimination. Those that insist on ascribing a monetary ‘value’ to their time and effort are explanations the minimum wage as a reference. The only ££££ likely to be involved are the refund of travelling expenses e.g. bus fares or petrol/diesel money and the cost of any materials used for the task.
LETS is not about making money – there are plenty of commercial media available for skill selling starting from the corner shop window card to the sponsorship of a premier league football team. If you do use your skills to make ££££ then LETS might be a source of references of happy customers to add to your portfolio but nothing beyond that – it is not a free advertising medium and I suspect that any attempt to use it as such will be deprecated by other members.
Frome LETS will be based on the software provided by http://localexchange.org.uk/ where you will find links to other LETS schemes in the UK. A scheme close to Frome is http://www.salisburylets.org.uk/: this website contains good explanations of how LETS works in practise.
The Frome scheme will start with
1) Launch meeting at a place and time yet to be determined
2) An agreement for regular social/business meetings thenafter
3) Annual subscription £5.00, paid in ££££ on joining and on the annual renewal date of 1 January
4) Currency name “Frome(s)”
A couple of things to think about before you join, what can you do i.e. what will you be offering and what will you be wanting? Don’t be shy about what you can offering, something that might appear to be too trivial to mention might be something that somebody out there might be in desperate need of, for things you want to be done, you will not know until you ask!