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  • Rebecca Armstrong

Waltham Forest LETS – be part of our local alternative economy

WF LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) is a local, democratically organised, not-for-profit community enterprise that provides a community information service and record of transactions between members exchanging goods and services by using the currency of locally created LETS Credits, which in Waltham Forest are called ‘Beams’.

LETS has been running in Waltham Forest for over 20 years; the scheme has been growing especially quickly over the last 2 years and now has over 200 trading members. Members offer services and goods such as DIY, music lessons, alternative therapies, gardening, loan of tools and equipment, computing, cooking, giving lifts, allotment vegetables, and dog-walking.

Members access an easy to use ‘trading system’ which has a database of ‘wants’ and ‘offers’. Its up to the buyer and seller to agree a rate for a service or product, but typically people charge 10 beams an hour for their time, and cost products at the rate of 1 beam = £1. Transactions are recorded electronically, and members are able to view a statement of their account online (which looks just like a bank statement).

WF LETS organises events for members to encourage trading; the next is “LETS Chill” at 3pm on 17th November at the Quaker Meeting House where members will showcase their offers.

There are also events to allow non-members to find out more about the scheme including monthly drop in sessions (see below), and this year WF LETS & Transition Walthamstow jointly organised 2 foraging events with the one in May attracting over 100 people.

To give you an idea of how how LETS can be used in practice one member has traded over 1,500 beams over the last 18 months selling life coaching, IT support, website & flyer design, bike maintenance services, and loaning plumbing equipment. In return he used the proceeds for repairs to rotting windows and doors in his house, manure for his allotment, fitting of new trouser pockets, and buying locally produced crafts.

WF LETS not only supports our local economy, but also enhances local community networks & resilience.

Come to one of the WF LETS monthly drop in sessions to learn more about the scheme, view services currently offer, and find out what local people have as ‘wants’; if you decide this scheme is for you, then you can join on the spot.

Drop-ins are held 10.30am – 12noon on the last Saturday each month at the Hornbeam Cafe 458 Hoe Street E17 9AH (so the next drop in is this Sat 26th October).

WF LETS logo crisp

Waltham Forest LETS:

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