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Let's share skills

PUBLISHED: 09:23 24 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:02 01 August 2010

A TRADING system brimming with Christmas community spirit could be coming to Beccles in the New Year.

Cate Oliver, a single mum who lives in the town, wants to launch a Local Exchange Trading System (LETS) that allows people to exchange goods and services without having to spend money.

A TRADING system brimming with Christmas community spirit could be coming to Beccles in the New Year.

Cate Oliver, a single mum who lives in the town, wants to launch a Local Exchange Trading System (LETS) that allows people to exchange goods and services without having to spend money.

People gain credits by offering a service to someone else, such as gardening, and then can use those credits to get someone else to do a favour for them, like providing handyman skills.

“A lot of people offer their professional skills although you don't have to be professional to join,” said Cate, 35, who lives in Denmark Road with her two young sons. “It is all about sharing skills for the benefit of all.

“Say you enjoy getting out and about for instance, you could walk someone's dog and use your credits earned to 'buy' a reiki healing session, handyman skills, home de-cluttering, or anything else on offer. There's so much people can do.

“The more people join, the more skills and services will be

available. As a single mum I am particularly hoping some reliable babysitters will join!”

Miss Oliver moved to Beccles a year ago on Boxing Day from south west London, which had a LETS scheme that she was involved with. She was surprised to find that the town, which was otherwise perfect for her needs, had no such project in place.

“The only thing I couldn't find in Beccles was a LETS scheme,” she explained. “There's the children's centre, lovely pubs, everything else was much better for me. It's such a lovely part of the world. I absolutely love the town, but I do think it would be even better with a LETS scheme especially as everyone is feeling the pinch nowadays.”

Having settled in Beccles she has now decided to set one up herself, and believes that the strong community spirit will make it a great success.

“People are particularly friendly here and willing to help each other out, and they already have informal variations of it,” she said. “But if it was slightly more formalised it could be more productive. I think there are quite a few people in need of help, especially at this time of year. It's also a good way to meet people.”

She will be holding an informal drink in the King's Head at 6pm on Monday to discuss the scheme, which is already being supported by Sustainable Beccles.

There used to be a LETS scheme based in Hungate, although it folded around 15 years ago.

To find out more about LETS visit www.letslinkuk.net or email Miss Oliver at beccleslets@yahoo.co.uk.

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