Have you seen this kind of news coverage, or this from the Guardian. However, these articles don't really tell you what's going on, so if someone else knows more of the gory details then I'd like to be enlightened too!
My local Freecycle has become Freegle and as far as I can tell it's working in exactly the same way for people at the bottom (ie me). I've already "freegled" something successfully.
It's something to do with the fact that Freecycle in an American thing, with the name owned by someone in America. I'm not sure exactly why, but the English branch has amicably broken away and renamed itself Freegle, but it is exactly the same thing, just with a new name.
I am freecycle group owner so I might be able to help
Basically Freecycle was 'created' by a chap in America and exported to us here in the UK. People had to apply to Freecycle (TFN- The Freecycle Network) to be able to run groups and if approved the details of their Yahoo group were included on the Freecycle website and people searching for a FC group for that area were sent to them.
HOWEVER... America is very different to the UK, and their rules dont always work here, so the UK directors and some vocal group owners started to ask questions and were told to be quiet. They were jsut asking for example 'why cant a group owner be on 2 groups?' or 'why is TFN accepting money form commercial companies and is any of it going to make its way to the UK' The reaction of TFN was to 'sack' the director and to try and remove the group owners from their own group, plus to forcibly remove moderators and move whole groups of Yahoo groups onto 'My Freecycle'
So, long story short,. some people got mightly peed off and decided to split from TFN and start a new netwrok called Freegle. Some groups have gone Freegle, some stayed TFN- its cuurently abotu 50/50