I live in Woodside Drive, a street of around 100 houses up on the hill behind Forres. Most of my neighbours are professionals who work away during the day and who rarely have the time to talk to each other.
I am an active supporter of our local organic box scheme – EarthShare who supply me with a lovely box of fresh local vegetables every week for just £3 and 2 LETS. As I don’t use a car it is difficult for me to collect my box from the pick up point each week. So I asked my retired neighbour Walter, at No 17 if he would deliver my box to me in return for a few LETS each week. So he joined.
The following week Walter delivered my box to my back door and noticing the sad state of the vegetables stored in our warm kitchen. He suggested that I should really keep the vegetables in a cool area. “I’ll make you a veggie cupboard for outside for LETS if you like” he offered. I had earned plenty of LETS helping others so I agreed. The following week he came round to fit our great new veggie store which he made for me in his tool shed. For just 150L it has transformed our kitchen clutter and it keeps our veggies fresh much longer.
Walters wife Lucyna is a teacher in our local school and happened to mention that they would really like someone to make some new seat covers. They were quoted £280 by a mail order service. I put them in touch with Karen at No 48 who I knew offered sewing in our LETS system. Karen is a busy mum with three children and a new mortgage. There are few job prospects here in Forres and Karen was delighted to help and earn 100 LETS with which she will pay for joinery repairs to her new house.
Lucyna and Karen’s husband Krystof soon discovered they had something in common – they are both Polish! With the extra LETS she earned Karen bought some pond liner at the last LETS Trade Fair and will stock it with plants from Sonya’s garden at No 20.
Sonya is a recent member who’s husband Kevin works abroad. Although a qualified nurse with green fingers she confesses that she is no good at DIY and she could do with a hand with some wee jobs around the house. Walter was delighted to help out again.
Sonya also bakes bread and gives lifts to work for my wife, Alison. She also delivers two hot-from-the-oven loaves to us every week for just 3 LETS. The LETS she receives, she swapped for her DIY.
Margaret at No 8 is an industrious Chinese lady whose husband is bedridden with M.S. Margaret shares eggs from the chickens she keeps in the back garden and she is also a great cook. Once a week she delivers a home made meal to Sonya. Margaret has been planning to create a spare room for visitors in her attic and needs help lining the walls and floor. Enter yours truly with on hand expertise and tools from Walter
Kevin at No.11 is an American
rocket scientist who loves repairing bicycles so ours will soon be in his shed for their annual MOT.
So my 150 LETS has bounced around our street and come full circle. On its way it has helped to create my great veggie box, new seat covers, a wildlife pond, bread, eggs and meals, DIY, bicycle repairs, garden plants and an attic conversion and the LETS tokens are still recycling.
More importantly however we have created new mutual friendships amongst our neighbours. There are now 8 LETS members in my street and we had our first street party at Lucynas last month. Great food, drinks, live music and singing and not too far to stagger home afterwards.
Our social economy is booming