About LETS

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, often named after a local feature - "Tams" here in the Tamar Valley, "Palms" in Falmouth, "Carts" in Redruth, "Exes" in Exeter.

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 one to one (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.

The community building side of LETS is 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.

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