Saint Exchange, the local trading scheme of St Andrews, which was part of the Climate Challenge Fund bid has been running since December 2011. Since trading began, we have seen over 80 local residents & students sign up to become members, registering 250 trades worth more than 1000 saints. Trading has been varied and extensive since the beginning…One of our members designed handmade cards for birthdays and Christmas which has been very popular with other members. Another member used the scheme to further her jewellery making start up project- which helped her to sell her items and create some publicity for her business also.
These are just two examples, but the scheme has helped benefit many people who have joined- even from as simple as getting some help looking after pets at the weekend or a bit of digging in the garden before planning out this season’s fruit and veg. The scheme’s aim of creating work opportunities, fostering better links between town residents and creating “wealth” in the community without the need to use money has certaintly been fulfilled over this time.
As for the scheme itself, there has been some small changes here and there but essentially the scheme has been run the same way since we started. Committee members would meet interested persons wishing to join and go through how the scheme works. New Members would then write down their offers/wants into a directory profile and this would be included in a printed handbook which we would update on a monthly basis. Trades have been registered online using a simple google (submit) form and then the “accounts” were done manually offline in an excel spreadsheet. This has been working more or less ok but we’ve had a recurring problem in that members have not been able to access updates when new members have joined and from the committee side, there have been issues with the tedious nature of doing the accounts manually and producing monthly accounts.
However, recently we’ve had an exciting development in that our new online trading platform, which we have been developing over the last 12 months has just gone LIVE on our website! It’s a major step forward for the scheme because it takes away the issues we have been facing whilst using the paper based scheme and makes searching the directory and arranging trades a WHOLE LOT easier for members!
The new website features: an online trading bulletin board; real-time trade registration and account updating; online members directory- showing all the skills offered within St Andrews; and the ability to change your profile automatically and search through the latest edition of the directory.
The new website can be found at: www.Saint-Exchange.org.uk . All existing members of the scheme have already been sent out their new online account details and instructions on how to logon. But for those of you who aren’t members, you can still view a “preview version” of the website where you can search through the existing directory and get a feel for how the new website works.
We’re hoping that the new website will make trading much easier and will encourage more people to get involved with the scheme and make it much more accessible for St Andrews residents. If you are thinking about joining and would like to find out more, email the Saint Exchange Committee at: firstname.lastname@example.org