Most of us pride ourselves of being able to recognise a bargain, but imagine being able to do so without parting with a single penny. www.uswap.co.uk is the brainchild of bargain queen, eager swapper and Leeds resident Emma Dawson.

Emma was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2010 and hopes that uSWAP becomes a success for two reasons: firstly, to prove that people, with Asperger’s Syndrome, do not have to be consigned to a life on benefits, (only 16% of people with Asperger’s are in paid employment), and; secondly, to generate income to set up a show choir for young people with the condition, as well as those young people who face the possibility of being excluded from school, due to their behaviour.

An online market place for all those buys that have fallen out of use, uSWAP radically breaks the mould by allowing you to swap your unwanted items for new treasures, and simultaneously find a loving home for your tired goods. Alternatively, if you’re short on inspiration or time, just swap for cash.

From vintage clothes to DIY equipment, the categories on uSWAP allow you to post an item/skill/property/labour on the site with the simplest ease, along with a suggestion of what you might like in return. Wait for members to make offers, barter, and finally pounce on the perfect swap.

uSWAP is born of a need for a website on which the growing bands of ‘recyclers’ in the UK can join a community to share and exchange, breathing new life into unwanted goods. Founder Emma Dawson’s keen eye has assessed the needs of her own cosmopolitan city,Leeds, and struggled against all the obstacles in order to create uSWAP in answer to them. Students, with a constant turnover of textbooks and home appliances, or mothers with children continually outgrowing clothes and tastes, are just two groups for whom uSWAP could save money, time, and frustration.

The founding idea for the site was to help people in housing association homes to swap lodgings without the need for a ‘middleman’, and though the site has since expanded to embrace a myriad of other categories, a category for housing still exists. Emma is resolute that the central philosophy of the site remains community-based: “uSWAP is more than a way to make a quick buck, the I hope that the site is of use to people wanting to help one another to acquire items, skills, labour etc, in a fair environment,” she says. In that spirit, skills and labour too can be exchanged through the site.

Save The Children has kindly agreed to use uSWAP as an extra resource for its shops to generate income.

uSWAP FACTS:

 Site Address: www.uswap.co.uk

Cost: 50p for a Normal swap (two week posting), with a sliding scale for added duration, pictures etc, or icons to display.  To add a swap within the Specialised categories, such as Automotive, a swapper will pay slightly more.

Currently, swapping is free.

Categories: Normal, Automotive, Housing, Business Services and Skills and Labour.  uSWAP has a wide range of categories to browse through.

How to swap: Register as a member by entering your name and creating a password, add a swap by clicking the icon and entering the swap’s details.

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