LETS (Local Exchange Trading Systems or Schemes) differ from currency schemes in one important way. The LETS philosophy deals with bartering of goods or exchange of time rather than money. Within a community, Janie might spend time babysitting at Kitty's to earn 'credits', and in return get some seedlings for her garden from Bill. Kitty might bring some home-baked biscuits to a swap meet and trade them for Bill to do some gardening for her. Jason might fix Bill's computer, and so the favours go around. LETS formalise a 'help-your-neighbour' philosophy. Many, many such projects exist around the world, and there are hundreds in Britain alone. Most deal by using centrally coordinated time banks or monthly swap meetings. Few have tried issuing notes to keep track of their projects, but the known schemes are covered on the following pages.
Many more unknown examples may exist, as these schemes are extremely localised. Should anyone know of printed notes please contact us, so additions can be researched.
The Calderdale LETscheme met in 1998 to discuss the introduction of paper currency for the Hebden Bridge area of Yorkshire, called a Favour. The 'Ground Floor Project' took the scheme on board and an in-house team designed the notes. In April 2000, 3,000 Favours worth of currency was printed, and 1,000 favours worth were stamped for use. The scheme was test-driven by some locals but was not well accepted. By the end of 2001, the scheme was failing and was retired in 2002.
In the spirit of the scheme, the Favours were intended to be a time-based currency with five favours representing an hour's work. A movement also existed to use them as a local currency with one Favour being worth a pound.