Here we’re shining a light on various aspects of Waltham Forest LETS & schemes elsewhere.
WF LETS Member stories
Here some members tell us about their WF LETS experiences. If you’d like to share yours send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I met a lovely member, Sue, the day I enrolled at the Hornbeam Café and seeing my herbalist offerings she immediately asked me if I could make natural cosmetics. As making creams and balms with plant ingredients is one of the things we do in herbal medicine, I agreed to offer a workshop showing how to make these. And off I went on my LETS path straightaway!
For me LETS embodies our communal desire (that I see at work all over the world) to help each other, make links in our communities, and start to live in a different way than the capitalist system eternally forces.
I have received reflexology sessions and had my website repaired through LETS, both of which were very positive experiences because of the personal contact and shared ethos. And it was great being able to contact someone over website stuff this way – the webhosting company were much less reassuring!
Thanks to various LETS members, as well as the interest of loads of people who came to join the workshops and foraging walks I’ve done with LETS this year, I have connected with many people in Walthamstow and come to be involved in various other local events which has been brilliant personally and professionally.
Along the way I’ve done a summer apothecary stall at Vestry House Garden Party and a lovely workshop in a fellow LETS member’s garden studio for a group of keen cosmetics-makers. I am keen to see where we can go with LETS into the future.
From having people catch up on favourite TV programmes to seeing the delights of a storyteller at my daughter’s birthday party, being a LETS member for the past three years has made a huge difference to my life in Walthamstow.
Mainly it’s reminded me of the value of community living and introduced me to lots of like-minded individuals. And it’s definitely saved me money. I’ve had curtains made for the conservatory, my computer fixed, bought a bike, had the kitchen cleaned, the garden pruned and delighted in regular much-needed massages.
I get to help others with childcare, cake baking and loan things like tents and ladders. It’s such a great idea and works best when people sign up with the mindset that it can help them. We’re all busy but taking a bit of time to share a skill means that you can bank some beams and spend them when most needed.
I’ve met some wonderful people on it, including Deryl, who has become a really close friend as she lives round the corner and has a daughter the same age as mine. Now, we help each other out day-to-day with school pick-ups and childcare swaps.
Although generally, LETS members charge 10 Beams an hour, sometimes that doesn’t quite work – so for instance when I rented Deryl’s printer from her for a few months after mine broke we just came to an agreement of 10 beams per week.
I’ve had a group of LETS members from the gardening group come and help me on my allotment which was great. And I regularly get rabbit manure from Zoe, who delivers it to me as I don’t have a car. I found my allotment partner through LETS too – and I’ve had organic gardening advice from Sarah.
I keep people’s numbers in my phone so that I can text and ask who’s got what or can help me with whatever it is – whether it’s ‘renting’ a suitcase for Beams, or getting a lift somewhere.
I’ve bought incredible cakes off Simone and Doreen and also paid them Beams for facepainting at local events I’m involved in.
I’ve made LETS part of my life now – and it has saved me a fortune as well as enabled me to meet some lovely people.
My first LETS trade was for the repair of my 95 year old Singer sewing machine. Following hours of work by an expert it was restored to perfect working order, and it is such a pleasure to operate. I now make regular use of it to repair the family’s clothing, and for bigger jobs such as a black backdrop for the Hornbeam’s monthly Open Mic evenings.
In the last 12 months I have traded over 500 beams, which have included purchasing repairs to my trouser pockets, plants, foot gel, some specialist repairs to my Brompton bicycle (thanks Luke) and most recently an amazingly tasty jar of apple, elderberry and blackberry jelly. I have earned beams through coaching, poster and website design, bicycle maintenance, loan of plumbing equipment, and offering IT support.
I am particularly keen to do more trading with WF LETS members who live nearby to me in Walthamstow Village, as its such a great way to get to know neighbours.