LETS is an acronym for Local Exchange Trading System

Key Innovation
An alternate currency allows the trading of goods and services amongst members of the community.

Problematic background and context
The original project started in 1976, when a group who were members of ‘friends of the earth’ decided to start a ‘LETS’ scheme in Ayr. It folded 10 years ago but was resurected in 1997.

Solution description
There are currently 40 members from around ayrshire actively trading. Names, addresses and offers or skills are in a directory and members trade anything from catering through to plants and plumbing. The currency is ‘thistles’ and the standard rate is 30 thistles per hour, which equates to £6.

Recent version running for 8 years.

Development phase
Model is easy to implicate elsewhere – a pack is available explaining how to start up a scheme.
In terms of LETS this is a relatively young scheme which is still improving and maturing.

Revenue/costs model
Starting up costs and subscriptions are around £20 per member, other than that all trading is ‘free’ in normal monetary terms. Sometimes traders pay for materials etc.

Social evaluation
Excellent for encouraging inclusive communities, providing internal support and empowering people.

Environmental evaluation
Sharing skills, products and knowledge reduces (in many cases) material consumption.

Economical evaluation
This does not have any positive bearing on the present consumptive economy, but is a good example of where we should be heading.

Ian Grout / The Glasgow School of Arts / United Kingdom