You have to sign up to Yahoo to join the FODLets group.
WHAT IS A LOCAL EXCHANGE TRADING SYSTEM?
Local Exchange Trading Schemes (LETS) are trading systems through which the community can
exchange its skills or services, without using money (sterling). There are many schemes
operating in the country, the local ones to the Forest of Dean (FOD) being Stroud, Gloucester
and many in Bristol.
Trading schemes bring the community together and put local people in touch with local skills. They are first line
regeneration systems as they keep currency in the local community and bring people from all walks of life together.
HOW DOES IT WORK
simple to operate. Each member has a 'cheque book' and a copy of a directory in which
the services of all members are listed. There are no physical tokens - its more like
earning gold stars or brownie points. LETS currency is only earned by trading, so members
put currency into their accounts by doing work for other members. If you want a job done
on LETS, you phone someone in the directory and negotiate a `price in the local
With LETS you do not Barter in the normal sense of the word. It's like using imaginary
money where you purchase a service or sell an item without doing a 'swap'.
As a new initiative in 2008, the group introduced a FOD LETS Yahoo group.
This enhanced the service to members by allowing password protected access
to online adverts, newsletters, meeting information and so on. Members are
also able to post and review adverts themselves. The scheme works in conjunction with
all our current ways of trading (phone, newsletter, directory, and so
WHAT ARE THE UNITS
Each LETS group has its own name for the unit of currency. In the Forest of Dean we call
them "Deans" (we also have a smaller sub unit of the Dean
called a "Vicar"). The usual rate for work is
to the hour, but this may be negotiated between the people concerned (with a
window of 10 - 15 Deans per hour). A new members
account starts at zero and they can "go into the red" straight away if they
want, because by spending "Deans" they are helping another
member to earn them.
It must also be remembered that no interest is charged on any
WHAT IS TO STOP MEMBERS TAKING FROM THE SCHEME
WITHOUT PUTTING ANYTHING BACK
The scheme is self regulating in practice. Members are trusted to use it fairly and as the
accounts are published from time to time, all members can see how others operate. If a
member leaves the scheme, they must leave their account at zero or in credit.
WHO KEEPS THE BOOKS
When one member writes a cheque/voucher for an amount of 'Deans' to another, the
member in receipt of the payment sends the cheque/voucher to the 'recorder', who records the
transaction on computer.
Statements are sent out each month and lists of the work exchanged may be published in the
Forest of Dean LETS newsletter, to show how active the system is and to encourage new
Members can advertise items for sale in the Newsletter at no cost and are also encouraged
to write articles.
WHAT CAN I OFFER
All kinds of services, skills or even goods are offered on LETS and everyone can do
something useful, whether its a trade or profession like plumbing or legal-advice,
or just help with ironing, gardening or baby-sitting.
Maybe you have a van to hire, a ladder to lend or just some muscle to get a wardrobe
upstairs? You can also sell unwanted items. What you may feel is a simple
thing to do - is usually needed by others!
One of the most popular trading area is food. Cakes, bread and vegetables are routinely traded
at our monthly meetings and we have the occasional car boot for members in the summer season.
HISTORY OF FOD LETS
An initial meeting was arranged by Forest of Dean Friends of the Earth and an inaugural
meeting followed soon afterwards. The inaugural meeting elected officers and
agreed a constitution. This was in 1995 and the System has continued to operate
with a steady membership of around 120. We have been grant aided a Computer
& publicity material from the Forest of
Dean District Council and have purchased a Photocopying Machine with a Lottery grant.
OUR AREA We operate in the area of Gloucestershire bounded by the River Severn
and River Wye (approximates to the Forest of Dean District Council area), but also have members in the Chepstow and Monmouth areas.
Our aim is for separate groups to eventually establish themselves in Chepstow and
We hold a monthly gathering (generally no meetings in January) in
the Forest of Dean on the first Tuesday of each month (the venues change monthly
- follow meetings link at
top of page). Once or twice a year we have an open air venue, previous years have included
barbecues, didgeridoo playing, drumming and a visit around a farm.
At all gatherings, members, friends, visitors to the Forest and
interested people are invited. Each meeting also includes market stalls at which members can trade.
We have an open door policy - just come in, browse and have a chat.
Our meetings are normally well attended and we tend to find that those members who come to our
meetings do more trading - you also get to meet other like minded people from all walks of
Children are also welcome at our meetings.
HOW DO I JOIN THE SCHEME
Just turn up at one of our monthly meetings, request an application form from the address
below or E-mail us at the address below.
An annual subscription will be requested to cover the few administration costs which we
have to pay for in sterling, such as postage and printing. A service charge of 1 Dean per
month may also be deducted from your account to cover non-sterling costs. You will be
provided with cheques/vouchers and a copy of the directory, so that you can begin trading
straight away. Members also receive a newsletter and directory updates on a regular basis.
FOREST OF DEAN LETS MEMBERSHIP RATES
Membership per person is £5 per year..
The membership year is from April to March. Any new member joining
after Christmas will have 3 months free membership.
- please complete the membership form (Word format) below
For more information
contact details are as follows:- The Co-ordinator should be contacted in the first
instance by Email. If you do not have Email then a snail mail address is
included but the response will be much slower.