Alternative financial institutions

LETS – Local Exchange Trading Systems or Schemes – are local community-based mutual aid networks in which people exchange all kinds of goods and services with one another, without the need for money. They are locally based and use alternative currencies to the pound. There are hundreds around the UK and LETSLINK UK provides links to many, as well as lots of information. Their website has details of other websites concerned with alternatives to money and current financial systems.

Time Banks UK is the national umbrella charity linking and supporting time banks across the country by providing inspiration, guidance and practical help. Time banks link people locally to share their time and skills. Participants ‘deposit’ their time in the bank by giving practical help and support and are able to ‘withdraw’ their time when they need something done themselves. Everyone’s time is equal: one hour of time earns one time credit to spend when needed. A time broker matches people up and keeps a record of the exchanges made.

TimeBank is a national charity inspiring and connecting people to share and give time. TimeBank appeals to people who know that their time and skills are in demand – but just don’t know what to do about it or where to start.

Credit unions are financial co-operatives owned and controlled by their members. They offer savings and great value loans plus they are local, ethical and know what their members want. Each credit union has a “common bond” which determines who can join it. The common bond may be for people living or working in the same area, people working for the same employer or people who belong to the same association, such as a church or trade union. The Association of British Credit Unions Ltd (ABCUL) is the main trade association for credit unions and provides much more information, including access to a database of credit unions.


Leave a Reply