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Sunshine Coast LETS - Community Exchange

Home > Sunshine Coast > Hobbies | Community Events | Cheap | How To
by Aunty Joy (subscribe)
I live in Nambour in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
Published May 23rd 2020
How to restart your economy with less emphasis on money
LETS, cashless, exchange, barter, sharing, kindness, trade
Let's trade with LETS! Photo: Elaine Casap via Unsplash


Times are certainly tough for many at the moment, and cash is scarce. Wouldn't it be great if you could somehow trade without cash? The good news is, you can.

"Local Exchange Trading Systems", or LETS groups, are locally organised, not-for-profit groups which have been around for many decades right across the world. They are a well-organised way to trade without money, not only within your own community but around Australia and internationally.

How does trading without currency work? Let's say you've offered cleaning services on LETS. Member Maisie contacts you and you clean her house for an agreed number of units. You need bookkeeping services, so you search LETS offerings and find that Fred is offering them. Fred works and earns units from you.

Think of it as "returning favours", but between a group of people, rather than a pair.

LETS groups also run trading days, where members can bring goods or services to trade in exchange for units.

LETS, cashless, exchange, barter, sharing, kindness, trade
A Sunshine Coast LETS Trading Day. Photo supplied.


When you join a LETS group, you are given a membership number and a login to the Community Exchange System (CES: communityexchange.net.au), which provides a central processing and "banking" site for unit balances.

Each LETS group has their own name for units—for example, Sunshine Coast LETS calls the units RAYS, while Maleny LETS uses the name Bunyas.

LETS, cashless, exchange, barter, sharing, kindness, trade
Screenshot of the CES home page


You add your "Wants" and "Offerings" to your personal page and can browse the listings for what others have put on the marketplace.

It's not just for professionals or trades – everyone has something they can offer, such as dog walking, shopping, cooking or weeding.

I spoke with Sunshine Coast LETS' publicity officer Ruby Heard, who thinks this is a great time to join LETS. Ruby moved to the Sunshine Coast last September and wanted a way to build connections with her new community.

She brings some impressive skills to LETS - she is an award-winning electrical engineer and solar PV system designer who has a passion for community engagement.

LETS, cashless, exchange, barter, sharing, kindness, trade
Ruby at work energising the community. Photo supplied

"I see that the residential and commercial solar industry have become very confusing for people," says Ruby. "The options are endless and it's hard to know if you're being offered a good price and the right system for your needs. I can help by reviewing quotes and offering advice, as well energy efficiency audits and advice for off-grid power systems."

LETS, cashless, exchange, barter, sharing, kindness, trade
Ruby and colleagues in Ethiopia. Photo supplied


The variety of offerings Ruby has come up with draw from her hobbies and interests as well as professional skills.

"I enjoy tutoring students in maths and physics and can do electrician trade school tutoring and assistance with computers. My biggest hobby is making organic kombucha so I'm offering starter scobys and could do lessons also", says Ruby.

She thinks programs like LETS are important since COVID-19.

"LETS is its own little economy. If we can grow the Sunshine Coast group large enough then we can become a lot less dependent on our regular incomes. That's going to be so important in the economic and unemployment crisis that we're experiencing."

Sunshine Coast LETS needs some new fresh members with a variety of offerings. Now is a very good time to join and enjoy not only cashless trading, but friendship and social get-togethers at market days and lunches.

Membership of Sunshine Coast LETS (SCLETS) is $5 per year and new members are gifted 25 RAYS to get started.

LETS, cashless, exchange, barter, sharing, kindness, trade
SCLETS logo. Design: Joy Hinckley


Check out SCLETS at their web site, www.sunshinecoastlets.weebly.com or phone Anne Wensley on 5437 0011 for a chat about joining SCLETS.
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Why? Cashless trading and community connection
Phone: 07 5437 0011
Where: Sunshine Coast
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