74 Bath LETS - History


History of Bath LETS

Bath LETS was founded in 1991, and has waxed and waned over the years. A long-term Core Group kept the system going even when many of the original members either drifted away, or felt that they did not need a formal scheme in order to maintain the friendships they had made through it.

In spring 2008 a group came together who called themselves LETS Work Together, and decided to revive the scheme. It had been agreed at a recent AGM that each members' time would have the same value as another's time and that the standard rate for exchange of skills would be 25 Olivers per hour, except for Accommodation where the standard rate would be 25 olivers per night - although this might differ with each person. The group had already arranged with journalist Jonathan Maitland to feature BathLETS in a documentary about Local Exchange Trading Schemes when they approached LETSlink UK to set up a website for them in a hurry - here is a link to the original design.

Soon afterwards, the group reviewed the methods by which the scheme is run, and asked LETSlink to add an online system to the site, which supports communication from Core Group to members, and between members, and enables them to keep their own profiles and Offers & Wants up to date and do their own transactions online, or if still using paper cheques, one of the Core Group members does the transaction for them.

The group then began working with the local Transition Town project, and the Green Stationery Company, and with great enthusiasm to make a major contribution towards helping people to develop a greener lifestyle as well as building a more vibrant community, embarked on a major project to print Oliver Notes, which were then featured on the Index Page of the online system. How the cash notes were traded, given the non-equivalence to sterling is unclear, but a Business Poster produced in December 2010 stated that One Oliver is worth 50p.

Dozens of new members were enrolled, including local businesses, but the online system showed very little evidence that it was being used for transactions - perhaps it was all happening with the printed notes. Recent research has indicated that a Bath Oliver Currency CIC (Community Interest Company), which was set up on 15th February 2012 to manage the printed Oliver project - a separate enterprise from the original BathLETS system - was dissolved on 14th February 2017 - details are HERE - while Oliver currency notes are on sale at an inflated price at Kate's Paper Money.

Meanwhile, the Directory Editor was finding the administration of the online system difficult to manage, and in 2012 funding was obtained for a new website with the URL www.bathlets.org. Some time in 2020 it became apparent that this new site had disappeared, and people - new enquirers as well as members of the original scheme - began enquiring for BathLETS from LETSlink, which has resulted in reinstatement of the original website, and a consultation process with members about how to move forward has begun.

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