For those of you who don’t remember Multi-coloured Swap Shop it was a Saturday morning kid's program with Noël Edmonds, Maggie Philbin, John Craven and Keith "Cheggers" Chegwin. The hapless Keith would be dispatched to outside broadcasts in town parks across the country, trying to match up kids who wanted to swap toys. As often as not, it was raining.
It’s easy for the Swap Shop generation to succumb to misty-eyed nostalgia, but the idea of swapping various things is still going strong, particularly online. Here are a few sites that aim to match up people with time, skills or belongings to exchange.
Probably the best known community recycling site, Freecycle
started a few years ago in Tucson, Arizona, and has spread to 75 countries. Like all good ideas, this one is simple: anyone with a useful item they no longer need can offer it to their local Freecycle group. Anyone who wants it can have it for free, but they’ll generally need to collect it.
The group says that each day across the world it keeps more than 300 tons of perfectly good items out of landfill sites. As the name suggests, it’s free to use.
No Cheggers, we’re afraid, but this SwapShop does a similar job for people with items small enough to be sent by post. Once you’ve registered, you tell it about all the items you’d like to swap, and it gives each a value in Swap Points. If another member contacts you to request one of your items, you stick it in the post. When it arrives with them, SwapShop
credits you with the Swap Points you asked for.
Points don’t make prizes, but they can be exchanged for other users’ items. Using the site is free, but if you don’t have enough points for the Matt Bianco
box set you can buy more.
(Originally posted on 18/0182012)