Organising meeting 9 May 2021 18.30

Please comment any agenda items below or edit the post to add them (the post is a wiki)

Meeting link -


  • First agenda item

For Clarity purposes I drew this diagram of what I understand coopbrum to be. It then seems clear to me that coopbrum is a sort of mothership to all the other organisations, and that each organisations have agency over their own functioning in relation to coopbrum. Looking forward to discuss!

WhatsApp Image 2021-05-05 at 09.34.57

based on the drawing above. Would it make sense that other organisations offer goodies to coopbrum members? ie: a free bike check up, a free meal at the warehouse, some sort of tech support, etc…

Hi Cecile, thanks for taking the time to draw this out. I think it clarifies for me where some of the misunderstandings are stemming from. The diagram isn’t correct. I’ve linked to a organisational structure diagram @Sergio made last year Blank Diagram (1) . Solidarity cafe and the Media co-ops are the two ‘operations’ sub projects of co-op brum. There are other existing working groups currently active are - finance, social media, tech so a revised diagram would look like this

The other co-operatives you mentioned the bike foundry, autonomic, housing co-operatives are fully separate to Coop Brum so far. Although many of their members have contributed to what’s been happening in the past year (often during work hours!). Autonomic provides web services.

The delivery co-op is dormant as all of the people involved had full time jobs. If active though, it had an agreement with coop brum and would therefore be an operational subgroup.

I think an important way of looking at this is that operational subgroups should work with each other and get mutual benefits from cooperation birmingham (this is the 6th co-operative pricinple - cooperation between co-ops) - in the case of the solidarity cafe it has got access to all of the resources built by coop brum, the participants database and onboarding of participants which happened, and supplier agreements etc. For the cycle coop it was that coop brum had agreed and devleoped a delivery system through the app as an experiment to see if it would work for the solidarity kitchen hot meal deliveries.

Other co-ops such as birmingham bike foundry, the warehouse and autonomic although supportive of the pricinples of coop brum don’t actually derive any benefits from the project yet, and have their own staff, rent and taxes to pay. Until co-op brum can scale large enough to mutually benefit them I don’t think we will be able to call on them for member benefits unless they can afford them in their budgets and their members decide to do so.

Thank you for your reply, it has brought some clarity and I would like to actually talk about it during the meeting. I find it easier to interact in a live chat as opposed to back and forth on the forum <3

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Cecile and Paul have further proposals to bring to the meeting on Sunday. Looking forward to gaining clarity and agreements towards our mutual goals of a more equitable and inclusive city x

How to address whiteness within the group?

Here are the minutes for the meeting:

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Great work minuting a very long meeting Paul :+1:

I was very dismayed to read the minutes of the meeting last night. It feels as though our solcafe meeting decisions are being vetoed and our voices muted. Im sure this isnt deliberate but thats the way it feels. So for example we spent a lot of time discussing the name and went with Solcafe. So there is a real issue of autonomy and accountability and freedom to make creative decisions. I dont understand who Open Collective are? Or what are the criticisms of heart circles and volunteer concept in the business plan?
Solcafe needs to create a mission statement which is easy enough to do. Similarly there must be a grievance policy. But who is the accountable body? This seems to be at the heart of the problems. At present people involved in planning Solcafe dont feel supported by Coop Brum and to continue with the level of disconnect will be unsustainable even in the short term. This is a very sad situation and needs some serious attention/mediation to change and move to a more constructive way communicating with one another and decision making. I hope this can happen.
Accessibility to forum discussions has been a problem for me and others. It is very important that other voices of people involved in Solcafe are heard

Hi @patn are you speaking on behalf of @Cecile and @Paul or are you speaking for yourself here? It’s a little confusing because of the “we” in your post.

Did you see the proposal and subsequent critique?

Hey Pat,

I am sorry you feel dismayed or muted, I found your comment quite upsetting as for me the way you are feeling is the opposite of the democratic organisation which we have been trying to build with Coop Brum and the solidarity cafe as part of it. I will just try to clarify some of your questions and I hope you find it helpful. It would also be useful to understand what it is about the forum you find difficult in terms of accessibility, as it’s something I’m more than happy to work on improving.

  • Regarding decision making, since the agm coop brum has a decision making process which means that small or operational decisions can be taken autonomously by a group, larger ones or which people think might be controversial are good to run by coop brum, this can be done in a meeting, or online vote if there is still contention. The decision making process we are using right now is here: Proposal: Co-op Brum Decision Making Process and it is a work in process, if there are issues with it we can iron them out together I hope, however currently decisions aren’t being relayed through this system, which means improvements aren’t possible.

  • Open collective is an online finance system, set up after the AGM, it is how a person signs up to become a member of coopbrum and something agreed as the way to finance some of our activities, pool our resources so we can provide mutual aid to each other and for the community, as previously we were donation and grant supported and didn’t have a clear idea of the membership -neither of which are good for the long term health of the organisation. To participate and vote in Coop Brum people should sign up to be members, or if they can’t afford the cost they can contact via email to become a member, this way we have an understanding of who is a member and can do things like vote on proposals ensuring buy in and agreement before taking decisions. I’ve written about this here too: What is the point of Co-op Brum and why was it founded?

  • I agree that Solcafe could do with a mission statement in addition to the business plan, one which is endorsed and supported by co-op brum and the membership will be more powerful and hopefully do some thing do remove the feeling of separation which you identified.