How does LETS work?

How does LETS work?...

LETS stands for Local Exchange Trading Scheme. People in a community form a club to swap goods and service amongst each other. But they don't have to do direct two-way swaps as in ordinary barter, where trading can't occur unless two people happen to each have something the other wants. In a LETS, Each person lists what they have to offer and what they need. These listings are entered into the Offers & Wants directory, from where the buyer contacts other members in order to trade. They can use a Community Currency (in Harrow it's called Harmonies) to acknowledge whatever goods or services they had received. Another name for this process is "Mutual Credit".

In the original paper-based system, members would write a LETS cheque, the member receiving this sent it to the local LETS Accountant who would do the transactions, and member balances would be included in the information sent to all members on a regular basis. With an online system, all this is done via the website. Members with internet access can take care of their own updates and and transactions. For members who prefer to receive information in printed format, the listings can be printed out and posted to them (as long as there is sufficient capacity on the Core Group to provide this service).

One main advantage of LETS is that it helps people realise that they do have something to offer, so it encourages mutual support, rather than one-way volunteering. Whether they have skills or not, each member's time, energy, or resources will be of value to someone. Just a few examples are, shopping, lifting, cooking, cleaning, houseminding, lending home equipment, tools, or meeting space. Start by asking yourself what you enjoy doing or look at the Directory to see what other members are already offering. You may also attend one of our regular Bring and Share parties, walks in the park, or zoom sessions - for forthcoming dates check your email or News & Events.


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