To keep things fresh on this website we change the "latest
news" link from time to time and also try and keep
the events page up to date, if not with LETS events, then
with other interesting events www.letslinkuk.net/home/events.htm.
This weekend there is a very interesting event on Saturday
run by a group called the European CREATIVE Forum. On
Sunday there is an attractive show called FESTIVAL OF
LIFE at Conway Hall, Holborn, London, which has both a
"new age" and "green" flavour, as
the organisers are rawfooders - entrance is £4 (£2
concs). We have booked a meeting space there on Sunday
from 2pm-4pm for a particular reason, which will be apparent
from the next news item.
European Social Forum
(ESF) and the Solidarity Village - the big
buzz of the moment: www.solidarityvillage.org.
Following our first LETS Co-operate event which was held
at Conway Hall, we have our own venue so that we can develop
a humanscale homebase for both UK and overseas visitors,
which goes beyond protest to demonstrate what is being
achieved. Clement House, part of London School of Economics
has also been entrusted to us and will be the venue for
a serious academic conference covering such topics as
Economic Reform and New Forms of Democracy - the programme
is being developed in the website. This your call to present
and/or participate. We also need sponsorship as we have
venue hire costs to fund. A planning meeting for the Solidarity
Village is being held at Conway Hall this Sunday 2-4pm:
if this is too short notice, just write and we will keep
you posted or contact us through the website. The ESF
provides us with an opportunity to hold an AGM sometime
during the weekend 16th-17th October - perhaps you would
let us have your views as to the best timing, and any
items for the Agenda.
So many people have enquired about updating their LETS
software, or even getting computerised for the first time,
that pursuing this is now a priority. We have received
two offers simultaneously from programmers wanting to
write proprietary software, but we are also concerned
to support opensource protocols, and in any case not to
reinvent the wheel. Over a considerable period of time
I have collected details of people who say they have written
or are writing software, and also those requesting such
software for their own scheme to use. To cope with both
these factors we are therefore (a) relaunching our SURVEY
of existing software,
(b) drafting a specification for new software.
If you have an interest in either of these aspects contact
us or check progress on the website at www.letslinkuk.net/software.htm
LETSlink's ongoing project of putting up links on our
website to local contacts needs to get back on track again.
This involves phoning people who are or have been contacts
for LETS before putting their phone number (or web-link)
up to make sure they are still alive and willing to respond
to phone enquiries from the website. When a scheme has
been in difficulties or has folded, this can be a delicate
task needing tact and resourcefulness not to lose the
threads of the contact and if a scheme isn't running any
more may be necessary to ask someone to start all over
taking enquiries. If you want to get in touch with your
neighbouring schemes and are prepared to report back carefully
to us on this basic research, please get in touch. Start
looking at the work already done by going to: www.letslinkuk.net/regions/uk-map.htm
- there are many gaps, and because of them we also have
a backlog of enquiries urgently needing answering so making
those local contacts will move us forward.
London Green Map Project
We have also been invited to become a partner of the London
Green Map Project,and we suggest accepting this invitation
on the basis that we supply phone and website details
from our own database (rather than full contact details
of organisers) because of the dangers of giving out too
private information. You can read about this on www.letslinkuk.net/news/040605-greenmap.htm.
Anyone objecting to our participation let us know by mid-October.
In order to expand in various areas, we have started to
explore several funding opportunities. The only funding
we have had since LETSlink UK's 1997-1999 grant from the
Lottery Fund was the £2k plus £2k input shared
between John Courtneidge and myself for the personal initiative
we shared in running LETS Co-operate in November 2002.
John Courtneidge has sadly left us for Canada, but will
keep in touch by email.
I have received an invitation to apply for a follow-up
grant, for a new developmental project and have to attend
a seminar to discuss the idea first to see if it is fundable.
What I have in mind is an innovative solution to the problems
of transferring LETS credits geographically and also saving
credits for your retirement - if you are interested, please
write for more information.
Meanwhile we are waiting to hear from the dividend
fund of the Co-operative Group for administrative support
for the Connecting Up Project mentioned above.
We are also developing a proposal for a serious
research on management which will continue on from the
fact-finding exercise of the Connecting Up project and
have academic partners ready to help us at the University
Letslink London is also pursuing a funding proposal
to run a pilot course in Training LETS organisers supported
by the European Social Fund. It will cover basic IT skills,
and the theory and practice of LETS, Timebanks, Credit
Unions. If the course is successful we can develop in
other parts of the country. The criteria are quite testing
and include (a) asking potential trainers for various
aspects of the course to quote their half-day rate for
teaching on the course. (b) increasing the number of formal
trustees - this applies to Letslink UK and Letslink London.
If you are interested in either of these please write
to us. I will put updates on the website at www.letslinkuk.net/training.
Supporting LETSlink UK with your Subscription
Having said all that about funding, the fact is that LETSlink
UK is in debt to its trustees and needs to urgently update
its paid-up membership base as we have not received subscriptions
for several years. Paid up subscribers will benefit from
being able to influence and participate in the development
of LETSlink. We plan also to provide administrative services
in terms of web-space where you can put your own events
and news and software for running LETS. You can simply
write to us on your letterhead including current joining
leaflet and your latest newsletter and enclosing a cheque
made out to Letslink UK for £25 (poor), £50
(medium) or £100 (rich) plus donations - or you
can use the conference form at http://www.letslinkuk.net/conference/register.htm.
NB if your scheme does have funds please bear in mind
we have not had subscriptions for several years now.
Mary Fee, Secretary, Letslink UK & Letslink London
12 Southcote Road, Tufnell Park London N19 5BJ,
Tel 020-7607-7852 Fax 020-7609-7112