About LETS

About LETS

The key concept in Local Exchange Trading Schemes is "Mutual Credit". All members have an account in the system, the sum-total of all accounts is zero and members can transfer credits from their own account to acknowledge another member for ie goods or services received. In the old paper-based systems, payments were made using cheques or payment sheets which were given to the accountant to record the transaction on a central database or spreadsheet: this software enables members to transact online, but cheques, vouchers or payment sheets can still be used if help is available centrally to process them.

The organisers of most LETS groups send out regular mailings including Membership Lists, News, Events, and updated Offers & Wants. This involves a significant workload. An online system, with most members managing their own profiles and payments, and a degree of automation, spreads the load. However, much support is still needed, because members may lack confidence and some will lack digital access. Social meetings to enable members to meet up are very helpful, as well as individual support, so running a LETS is a team effort, whichever method you use.

LETSlink UK hosts online systems for many groups, who continue to organise themselves locally. Where there is no surviving group in a county the national strategy is to host a single platform, which enables members to find and support others living nearby, and to provide training and support for members who are inspired to take on central and support roles. From the mutual base, credit can be extended to the community by means of special funds for particular projects and localities. These innovations may well be significant in helping LETS groups to outreach to other organisations, increase their membership, and carve out a role for themselves in the community.


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