UK Local Exchange Trading and Complementary Currencies
Development Agency

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Update September 2004

Update September 2004

Dear Friends
I am calling this an update rather than a newsletter because of its brevity. However, where there is information available on a website I am putting in the link so that you can follow up on what interests you. First of all just to say we have been working on two websites to cover the range of information requirements: this one covers the national organisation and some local information. Letslink London's website has been moved here but is also accessible via http://www.letslinklondon.org.uk. Our other website: www.letslink.org - was originally envisaged as a trading area - we had not made much progress but it is now coming to life.

Events
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.

Software Project
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

Connecting Up
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.

New Developments
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 of Leicester.

• 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.

Looking Forward
Mary Fee, Secretary, Letslink UK & Letslink London
12 Southcote Road, Tufnell Park London N19 5BJ,
Tel 020-7607-7852 • Fax 020-7609-7112
www.letslink.org
www.letslinkuk.net
www.letslinklondon.org.uk
www.solidarityvillage.org


 

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