Who are we ?
We’re a members-run community group who trade our skills and time without the use of cash.
In Edinburgh LETS everyone’s time and skills are valued and we believe that everyone has something to contribute - whether it is serving teas, doing admin, organising a walk or giving someone advice with a tax bill. LETS is a way of affirming that life is about more than money.
How we trade
We list our offers and wants online and we arrange trades by email, phone or at social events. We earn credits for whatever we trade, and we spend credits on other members’ offers, choosing from everything on offer from the entire membership: there’s no need to arrange reciprocal trades.
‘Reekies’ - our trading “currency”
When we trade, our accounts are credited or debited with ‘Reekies’. We suggest that one hour of time is equal to 5 reekies, but people can come to a different agreement. Monetary costs are usually reimbursed in sterling, in addition to reekies for the time. As an example, someone potting up seedlings might charge reekies for the seedlings but a small amount of cash for the money spent on pots and compost, etc.
People can start to trade straight away, as there is no need to be in credit and there are no interest charges. However, we ask that people bear in mind that we are a trading organisation, and avoid running up large reekie debts by ensuring that they have ongoing offers. If people take other peoples’ time and offer nothing in return it means that the people who are most generous with their time cannot spend their reekies, and the system freezes up.
If you don’t see the help you need on offer, then try posting a request, or leave some leaflets somewhere likely to attract that help to the organisation (e.g. if looking for help in the garden, leave leaflets in an area where people don’t have gardens.)
Potential members sometimes worry that they don’t have sufficient skills or time to join LETS. In fact, everyone has something to offer, such as the use of a washing machine, or visiting someone who feels isolated. People can choose how much or little they want to trade: most of our members work or have family commitments, so people with loads of spare time are in the minority.
Many of us have found that the best thing about LETS is making new friends. LETS members range through all age-groups and all sorts of characters, so whether you’re outgoing or reclusive, there’s likely to be a corner of LETS which suits you.