1 LETS: A community development
You will shortly be listening to a sequence of audio clips, which focus on the use of LETS as a community development tool. Should LETS come ‘from above’ or ‘from the grassroots’?
Principles of self-help and co-operation work well in neighbourhoods and communities where there are resources and supportive networks. However, even in strongly cohesive communities, some people may find it difficult to join in, for reasons of disability, age or marginal status. In communities that are facing multiple forms of deprivation, there may also be a lack of trust or interest in the idea of self-help.
At the time of recording, the London Borough of Greenwich was supporting LETS schemes through the work of its Anti-Poverty Team. In some ways this went against the original idea of LETS as being self-sufficient and independent of state support. Liz Shepherd, a founder of LETS in the UK, acknowledges this, but agrees that in some situations local funding may be necessary to get schemes off the ground with the aim of identifying and building individual and community capacity.
Read through the information on each of the participants, which will provide you with some background information. Then listen to the clips in Section 4.