from The Open University
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Life: PlantsThursday, 30th July 2015 11:00 - EdenAs ingenious as any animal... Read more: Life: Plants
A History of Ideas: Psychotherapist Mark Vernon on FreudThursday, 30th July 2015 12:04 - BBC Radio 4
Life: PlantsThursday, 30th July 2015 17:00 - Eden
Life: PlantsThursday, 30th July 2015 23:00 - Eden
Great Ormond Street Hospital: Fix my genesAvailable until Saturday, 15th August 2015 00:20Bone marrow transplants and gene therapy are explored in the first episode. What are the risks and how do parents and... Read more: Great Ormond Street Hospital: Fix my genes
A History of Ideas: Classicist Edith Hall on Aristophanes in PlatoAvailable until Wednesday, 27th July 2016 00:00
The Bank: LendingAvailable until Saturday, 8th August 2015 00:50
OU on the BBC- Wanted: A Very Personal Assistant: Episode OneAvailable until Thursday, 27th August 2015 02:30
Slavery: The Abolition of The Slave Trade ActA rare look into the role of people in Ireland in both the perpetuation and abolition of the... Read more: Slavery: The Abolition of The Slave Trade Act
Take the photographic memory testCan you capture scenes just by looking at them? Find out with our photographic memory test. Launch now: Take the photographic memory test
Beginners’ Italian: food and drinkThis free course, Beginners’ Italian: food and drink, focuses on buying drinks and snacks in an... Try: Beginners’ Italian: food and drink now
English: skills for learningThis course is for anybody who is thinking of studying for a university degree and would like to... Try: English: skills for learning now
LETS: A community development
This unit enables you to hear about some of the participants in the Local Exchange and...
This unit enables you to hear about some of the participants in the Local Exchange and Trading Schemes (LETS). These are associations of people who make offers of goods and services to and from each other. What is on offer and the requests people make are listed in local directories.
By the end of this unit you should be able to:
- give examples of how LETS work as a community development.
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn and track your progress. Make your learning visible!
LETS: A community development
Local Exchange and Trading Schemes (LETS) expanded rapidly in the UK after the first scheme was set up in Norfolk in 1985. By 1996 LETSLINK UK, the coordinating body, reckoned that there were about 450 LETS in the UK, with 40,000 members. LETS exist in most western European countries – in Australia and New Zealand, the US, Canada and Japan. Their origins lie in Canadian attempts to revive local traditions of skills exchange and barter outside commercial and international labour markets and currency systems.
LETS are associations of people who make offers of goods and services to and from each other. What is on offer, and the requests people make, are listed in local directories. Currencies have local names. You'll hear people mentioning ‘Squares’ and ‘Keys’ on the audio clips. Each member has a cheque book of currency vouchers, with which they pay for work or goods. Cheques are then sent to a central accounting office where one individual account is credited and one is debited. A typical system values units of currency at one hour's work. Sometimes cash is involved, if materials are needed or a phone bill mounts up.
LETS vary around the world, with some systems maintaining parity with the national currency and being organised by one person as administrator. In the UK, the model is more flexible and democratic, with participation and collective control more in evidence.
The audio clips were recorded in 2000.
Participants in the audio clips:
Liz Shepherd is the national co-ordinator of LETSLINK UK;
Jan Hurst is Development Officer for the London Borough of Greenwich Social Exclusion and Justice Division's Anti-Poverty Team;
Peter Jones, Roger Bunker, Rachel Bunker, Jenny Hurst and Veera Usher Muller are all members of two LETS in the Greenwich area.
This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Care, welfare and community (K202) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this.
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Social Care courses or view the range of currently available OU Social Care courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 9th January 2013
Last updated on: Wednesday, 9th January 2013
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.