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Wednesday 21st January 2009
Update and Meeting Sunday 1st February 2009

Topics mentioned in this newsletter:
• Meeting Sunday 21st January
• Update on press coverage
• Update on progress of LETS in London
• How to participate
• More about London-wide LETS
• Conference Announcement

Dear Friend

Happy New Year to all of you, whether you are an organiser of a LETS group in London, a member of London-wide LETS, someone who is "just looking for a local group", an "interested organisation", someone who wants to invite people to visit and work on their property in Europe, or one of our researcher and journalist friends.

Meeting Sunday 21st January

You are invited to our next meeting on Sunday 1st February 2009. We will be welcoming a group of student researchers from Belgium. Suggested timing:
11am for coffee and agenda setting,
12noon AGM of LETSlink London - the network for LETS organisers in London.
1pm Lunch - please bring food/drink to share.
2pm Networking for members of LWL and those who wish to join a local group.
4pm Tea and technical show and tell - bring a laptop. To give us an idea of numbers, when you want to come, any issues you wish to raise, and for venue details RSVP to letslinklondon@freezone.co.uk

Update on press coverage

There are many portents to 2009 becoming a year of positive change. Largely due to the Credit Crunch (and the Cash Crumble) - I got that delightful phrase from my colleague Sabine McNeill - we have seen a significantly increased interest in Local Exchange Trading Schemes - a steady trickle due to newspaper write-ups, but massively from TV - well done Jonathan Maitland from ITV - within half an hour of "Living without Money" on Friday 9th January, 150 enquiries were in my inbox. I will be writing more about that on a separate message for organisers all over the UK, but in London, I've heard from KUTLETS that they suddenly got 8 new members. In North London we were expecting the usual 3 attendees at our intro-evening, and in January we had 9. Multiply this all over the country, and you get the picture.

Wandle LETS has done a feature for a BBC1 regional magazine show 'Inside out London' which may be shown on Wednesday 28th January, failing that it should be shown on a Wednesday evening in the first few weeks of February. The show is broadcast every Wednesday evening at 7:30 pm with the first in the new series being broadcast last week. So you should all expect an increased interest in joining your scheme.

Update on progress of LETS in London

In London the picture is rather patchy. In addition to the original map which links from here: www.letslinklondon.org.uk, see also: www.letslinkuk.net/london/postcodes.htm which shows the true position on one page. North London LETS covers a wide area, Brixton & Southwark are in the process of being relaunched as an online scheme, and our diagnosis is that West London and East London need to be set up in a similar way ASAP to cover huge gaps in those areas.

London-wide LETS is gently coming into being. Out of 804 members on this list, only 80 of you have got around to joining, which is easy - just go to london.letslink.org - or: www.letslink.org and press "TRADING"
- it goes to the same place - and click JOIN.

More about London-wide LETS

If you are a LETS organiser, you can have a personal account, and a separate one for your scheme - YES - please do feel free to use it as a contact point to find people who could join your scheme and for "intertrading" with other groups - this means facilitating the occasional trade between members of different local groups. We anticipate that in time, LWL it will become an effective marketplace for London-wide trading and European exchanges. Meanwhile it serves as a useful space for us to try out new ways of running LETS. Internal messages will be sent around from time to time to help things along.

Does it cost to join LWL = London-wide LETS ? Most groups ask for a joining sub, and the majority have annual renewals, which is seen as a way of "pruning" the membership - ouch! Meanwhile other organisations, eg Freecyle and Facebook, have enrolled thousands or even millions in a short space of time by doing the opposite. So we have decided to adopt an innovative protocol - because we do need funds - "Donate Any Time" - woops that's another handy acronym - DAT - which will translate directly into your account. So if you are "money-rich" but "time-poor" and wish to participate, you can start this way: cheques please to "LETSlink London" at the address below please: we are having problems with paypal at the moment (like many other voluntary organisations).

How to participate

If you would like to participate, one thing that would help enormously, is phoning up people who were members of the scheme, for whom we don't have email addresses, and offering to be local phone contacts, so that people can immediately speak to a local person, who is a member, and who may know of local events where they can meet other members. Arranging such events can be fairly straightforward - my local group, Camden LETS, "goes round the houses" and this creates a very friendly ethos in the group.

Thanks to the local organisers who do keep us informed of your events and also to John Bradford of Wandle LETS who is willing to share their leaflet design - we hope to provide facilities where you can post these things up direct, it's in the pipeline - watch this space. If you have any practical or theoretical ideas to share, do send them in. That's it folks !

Conference Announcement

Last but not least: check out our events page:
your event can be posted here if relevant to LETS. In particular note the dates for a national conference being organised by Sabine McNeill, with our support, called

Conference on 24th & 25th April 2009: CHALLENGING THE CREDIT CRUNCH: Can We Change the Economy: Yes we Can.

Looking Forward
Mary Fee, Secretary, LETSlink London
12 Southcote Road, London N19 5BJ
020-7607-7852 * 07966-216891

LETSlink London is a Company Limited by Guarantee, with Charitable Aims: No 3421541 registered in England &Wales at 12 Southcote Road, London N19 5BJ