LETS find a local economical way to trade and socialise


By - Tuesday 3rd November, 2015

Pravina Ellis says that it’s smarter to barter


A Brixton pound note.
Photo by Matt Brown, used under Creative Commons licence.

LETS stands for Local Exchange Trading System and enables members, within a group, to socialise and trade (barter) with one another.

Croydon LETS is a not-for-profit group that started in 1995. Our members do not exchange goods or services directly with one another. Instead, all transactions are recorded on an online database similar to a bank account or ledger. We use a virtual currency, called Croys, to record trade between members.

New members are encourage to trade or spend Croys without first earning them: negative accounts do not incur interest payments!

Goods traded include books, clothing, household and gardening equipment, and plants

A small committee of elected volunteers coordinate membership and group activities, and we pay a small annual membership fee of £3 to cover administration.

We publish a regular newsletter listing social and trading events, hosted by members. Events organised include meeting in pubs, walks, coffee mornings, meals out or in members’ homes, and visits to the theatre. Goods traded include books, clothing, household and gardening equipment, and plants. Services exchanged include pet- or baby-sitting, help with gardening, cleaning, IT, DIY, trips to shops, cake baking, and hiring a lawn mower.

Members can request part payment for their goods (or service) in cash. For example, petrol for a lift, or wood for shelves installed, but the labour for the service is charged in Croys. The transactions are recorded on the database either by the member purchasing the goods or service, or by the database manager.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, rabbit tails, seashells and buttons were used as currency

We recently started a cooperative buying scheme to purchase environmentally-friendly cleaning products in bulk, for example laundry powder, toilet cleaner, loo rolls, and so on. These are purchased in bulk by the scheme organiser at a reduced cost compared with the high street. The range of products ordered will change at members’ request.

Croydon LETS is always on the look out for new members. If you want to join, or more information about the coop buying scheme, please contact me on 0208 656 8774, or visit www.croydonlets.org.uk.

Modern LETS was developed in 1983 by Michael Linton, but did you know that during the Great Depression of the 1930s, rabbit tails, seashells and buttons were used as currency?

The Brixton pound was developed in 2009 by volunteers and traders to regenerate their local economy

Now several hundred exchange systems exist all over the world. Many are very successful, like the Brixton pound developed in south London, in 2009, by volunteers and traders to regenerate their local economy and maintain diversity on the high street. The currency is directly linked to the pound sterling.

The Curitiba exchange system was developed in 1991 in Brazil to reduce the city’s rubbish and improve the plight of the poor. People were encouraged to collect waste that was exchanged for fresh food, bus tokens, and books, and by 2007 Curitiba recycled 70% of its waste. It is one of Brazil’s most prosperous cities!

The Berkshares, in Berkshire Massachusetts, were developed in 2006 by volunteers, banks and local businesses to strengthen the local economy and create jobs. Now, over two million Berkshares have been issued with each worth around 95 cents to the US dollar.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, and you would like to pay for that cup of tea with Croys, get in touch today.

Pravina Ellis

Pravina Ellis

Pravina and her family have lived in Addiscombe since 1998. She now works part-time in adult education but previously worked in the NHS. She is a member of the local Green Party and Friends of the Earth, and is the coordinator for Croydon LETS.

More Posts