from The Open University
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Thinking Allowed 2016: Consumerism, Work-life balanceMonday, 8th February 2016 00:15 - BBC Radio 4Laurie Taylor and guests look into our want for an abundance of possessions and the middle class bias in work-life... Read more: Thinking Allowed 2016: Consumerism, Work-life balance
Thinking Allowed 2016: Consumerism, Work-life balanceAvailable for over a yearLaurie Taylor and guests look into our want for an abundance of possessions and the middle class bias in work-life... Read more: Thinking Allowed 2016: Consumerism, Work-life balance
More or Less: E-cigs, politics, school and birthdaysAvailable for over a year
The Bottom Line: Winter 2015-16: Renewable EnergyAvailable for over a year
Deplaning: Why is the 747 coming to the end of the runway?For a long time, the 747 has dominated the skies. But Boeing is slowing production. How come? Read more: Deplaning: Why is the 747 coming to the end of the runway?
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
Discovering Wales and Welsh: first stepsThis free course, Discovering Wales and Welsh, introduces you to who the Welsh people are via a... Try: Discovering Wales and Welsh: first steps now
Forensic psychologyIn this free course, Forensic psychology, you will discover how psychology can help obtain... Try: Forensic psychology now
This free course, LETS: A community development, 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 free course 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, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. 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 free course includes adapted extracts 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 and our FAQs 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.
All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
*Please note you will need an ePub and Mobi reader for these formats.