One Member’s Story by Ingrid
I moved back to Edinburgh in 1997, after being away from here for fifteen years. I was starting a whole new life for myself and my two sons, and wanted to be near my brother and his family. It was while visiting them that I was introduced to Jane who immediatally enrolled us into LETS! I had been a member of the Stirling group a few years previously, but hadn’t used it very much before I moved again, but I was keen to be part of the Edinburgh group as I feel the idea is really great.
Since being in the Edinburgh LETS group I have done quite a variety of things for Reekies. I have altered clothing, sewn garments, helped run a creche, been a taxi, helped with housework, given Reiki treatments and I sewed 21 large cushion covers for people to sit and meditate on in the Salisbury Centre. I have taken a lady and her dog to the park for a walk, I taught another lady to crochet and sold her some wool for Reekies, and most recently I have been doing bits and pieces for a single mum and her gorgeous new baby. The mum insists on paying me even for sitting holding the baby while so she can get on with things she needs to do.
How have I spent all the Reekies I must have earned doing all these varied and interesting activities? I have had many amazing sessions of massage and other therapies which I could never had afforded with money This helped me very much during what was, and continues to be, quite a difficult time in my life. Meeting all the people I have traded with in LETS, and feeling able to help them in some small ways has been very good therapy for me too. I am very glad I joined and have benefitted very much from being a part of the group.
Successful Trading by Sue Freshwater
I have noticed that some members of LETS have some difficulty in deciding what jobs or services they have to offer. Others have no difficulties in earning their Reekies but have no idea on how to spend them. Some may offer a service and find that no-one contacts them.
My experience is as follows. I offered several things and found that there was only one thing that was really selling. That was baby-sitting. Doing that as well as working on the LETS committee (yes we do pay for committee attendance) allowed me to pile up a large Reekie balance. However I was not so good at spending this money, and I allowed my balance to lie.
The time came for a major spring clean of my flat, throwing things out, re-decoration and other jobs, with a view to moving house. Several people helped me and I am very grateful to them as I cannot do much of this work myself as I have a disability. In addition I have had a new computer system installed for Reekies, which allows me to use email and the Internet. This also would have cost a lot on the open market.
All of this has improved my life a lot and I have some new friends in LETS as well. It would have cost me a lot of money to get the help that I needed commercially. I hope that what I have written will help others to get trading. It’s really something to get in on.
Aunt Agony’s corner:
I’m too busy with young children/work or I’m too ill to trade on a regular basis but I still want to use the system. Can you suggest anything?
Yes, there are many ways one can trade without moving a little finger and still earn many Reekies, so here are a few examples of what you might offer if you have very little spare time, or recovering from an illness:
- Loan of a wheeled suitcase.
When flying abroad at the beginning of the year, I realised I needed a wheeled suitcase. Since buying one to use for a week meant less travel money, I posted a message on the e-group and received seven offers from different Lets members. As a result, one of our members, Penny, who is very busy with two young children, was able to earn a few Reekies just by allowing me to borrow a suitcase, Reekies she may decide to spend on babysitting or anything else which takes her fancy in the directory
- Use of clothes line in a garden.
You may have some hidden assets that are invaluable to other members: You may live in a house or a tenement with the use of a garden. If that is the case you could decide to let a Lets neighbour use your clothe line on a nice day. You may not even need to be there to open the garden gate, and at the end of the day, there will be a nice Reekie cheque in the letterbox, to spend on a back massage maybe? Or, you may decide to let a Lets member use your garden for sunbathing or having a picnic when you’re away on holiday, or away for a week- end. It would deter vandals and thieves and again you’ll be earning Reekies whilst lazing the time away in foreign climes!!!
- Don’t have a garden? What about a computer?
Not everybody owns a computer, but if you have one you could allow some members to use it for writing letters or printing documents etc… It doesn’t have to be for hours on end, it can be an hour or two now and then. For instance my printer is rather old and the quality of the print is sometimes not good enough for official documents or CVs, but thanks to Anne and others I do not have to splash out on a new printer I could not really afford at the moment.
- Loan of DVD’s, CD’s and books
You may well have an amazing collection of books, or tapes, or CD’s, video-cassettes or DVDs. Well you could earn reekies by just lending them to your favourite Lets members for a few reekies per week. Again, you don’t have to do anything, just sit back and let the Reekies accumulate, until you can spend them on something you need. I have borrowed Alison’s entire collection of DVD’s and really enjoyed watching films I hadn’t seen before.
Looking after a goldfish/houseplants in your own home
Offering the use of an area of your garden.
You could also look over the offers and requests on this website for inspiration.