Monaghan Ecological Group is working with local organisation, LETS TRADA to develop a Local Exchange Trading Scheme in Clones. Such a scheme would encourage local trade, keep people in work and contribute to building a resilient community. Mícheál Callaghan in discussion with Ciarán Fitzpatrick examines how this scheme will work and the benefits that it will bring to the Clones area.
In recent times, in Co. Monaghan, many trades people and those with valuable skills have found themselves out of jobs or on reduced pay, while many people who may like to have work done on their home, or acquire the skills of a professional, no longer have the disposable income to do so. All the while, they still have bills and mortgages to pay. A Local Exchange Trading Scheme seeks to address the situation whereby people who wish to work, and those need the services of the professional cannot do so due to a lack of money.
LETS TRADA has established a Local Exchange Trading Scheme in the Monaghan / Cavan area which allows people to trade with each other without having to use EURO as a means of exchange or payment. Instead, people, who have a skill or service which they can offer, are registered on the LETS database. They can then trade with others in this system as normal, acquiring LETS Credit for their work. Those who have acquired LETS credit for work performed can then “spend” this credit against the services of others on the scheme. The idea being that with work being received and carried out, the over – all amount of credit in the system will balance out to zero. The system is monitored by a central account and those wishing to participate in the system must first register and agree to the terms and conditions laid out by LETS TRADA.
The idea of a Local Exchange Trading Scheme is not a new one, and there have been many successful schemes around the world. Such schemes and local currencies have enabled communities to ensure trade of important skills and services does not dry up in times of economic hardship. The scheme will initially focus on the trade of skills and services but, if successful, could develop to allow people to exchange goods, in similar fashion to a local currency.
Ciarán Fitzpatrick, founder of the scheme, believes that this will be of real benefit to the local economy in Co. Monaghan, saying that it will be of great advantage to “those who have found themselves time rich but money poor.” Fitzpatrick, who himself is a tradesman, with a young family, has said that the establishment of the scheme and the work he has been paid for in LETS credit has enabled him to move home from London, where he was working. He hopes that the development of the scheme will have a similar positive benefit for others in the area.
There will be an information night about the project in The Cassandra Hand Centre during the Autumn, which will be open to the public and will provide a further opportunity to learn more about the scheme and how it could benefit you. If you would like further information about LETS Trade please don’t hesitate to contact Ciarán on 0862753468 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also learn more by contacting Monaghan Ecological Group at email@example.com. Keep up to date on LETS TRADA facebook page.