Have you herd? MK LetNet, the local skill-sharing group for the Milton Keynes area, has welcomed member number 500. Our reporter caught up with Lettie, the MK LetNet mascot, to find out what it was all about.
MK News: Welcome, Lettie, and congratulations on reaching this milestone.
Lettie: Yes, it’s heifer so good – I could jump over the moon!
MK News: Yes, well. Lettie, I can’t help noticing that you are, in fact, a cow.
Lettie: No flies on you! Milton Keynes has long been associated with our concrete cows so, when MK LetNet was set up, the name chosen for our alternative currency was the concrete cow or cc.
MK News: And when was that?
Lettie: Over twenty years ago – and, since then, we’ve bullt a thriving group!
MK News: Enough cow puns!
Lettie: Sorry, you’re right, I was milking it a bit. Mooving on….
MK News: Could you tell me how MK LetNet works?
Lettie: I cud. LetNet stands for Local Exchange and Trading Network and MK LetNet allows members to give and receive all kinds of goods and services without the need for money. Members trade with other members using our alternative unit of currency: the cc – ccs have no sterling value and the amount charged is negotiable between the people trading. When a member spends ccs, their account is debited – this is not a debt, but a commitment to provide goods or services for another MK LetNet member at some time in the future. When a member earns ccs, their account is credited. Everyone has skills that could be useful to someone else and the LetNet system allows members to make creative use of all their talents, and gives access to a whole range of goods and services, without the need for cash.
MK News: What kind of goods and services?
Lettie: Cowntless things. Everything from ironing, gardening and shopping to proofreading, translation and computer support. We currently have members offering therapies such as acupuncture, shiatsu and reflexology; teachers of maths, music and various languages; and practical people offering carpentry, decorating and DIY. Some members make art and craft items, or bake cakes; others offer lifts in the car; and there are always items for hire, including gardening equipment and meeting rooms. If you find yourself with unwanted Christmas or birthday gifts, come along to one of our regular trading days and find a good home for them. You can even earn ccs by coming to one of our events and making the tea!
MK News: Sounds like a good system.
Lettie: Yes, but MK LetNet isn’t just about skill-sharing; we’re also a thriving social group. We have a full dairy of events, listed in our regular moosletter – everything from pub meals and theatre trips to walks and gardening days.
MK News: And you’ve just enrolled your 500th member?
Lettie: No, we don’t actually have 500 members, but we’re about to enrol member number 500. Every new member is given a unique number. For technical reasons, the first was number 100 and, over the years people have left the group and others have joined. We currently have just over 100 members, going up to number 508. We thought reaching member number 500 would be a bit of a milestone worth celebrating, so that person received a special box of goods made by our bullient members.
MK News: Great! Can anyone join?
Lettie: Anyone living in the Milton Keynes area, though under-16s need to have joint membership with an adult. Membership is free of any sterling charge, so you’d be udderly mad not to join!
MK News: So how do I become a member?
Lettie: Phone 01525 385153; write to MK LetNet, 4 Esmonde Way, Leighton Buzzard, Beds, LU7 4HE; email email@example.com; or check out our website: www.mkletnet.org.uk. And do it soon if you want to beef a part of our oxmas events.
MK News: Thank you for speaking to me, Lettie.
Lettie: You’re moost welcome.