Organising meeting Sunday 31st May 6.30pm

If you would like to dicuss something, post it in this thread and we’ll include it in the agenda. You can still add issues to the agenda even if you think you’re not gonna be able to attend the meeting. However, if that’s the case make sure that you provide enough information about the topic (just a few lines, not a dissertation) or speak to someone else and ask them to raise the issue. If you don’t feel comfortable writing and you don’t know anyone who will attend the meeting, feel free to send me a private message and we can arrange a phone call or similar.



Minutes from Cooperation Birmingham organising meeting 31st May 2020

Present: Kaeden, Nina, Sergio, Carlos, Leo, Sean

  1. Check with each other and reflect about the project status

Carlos: Less involved recently and back at work. Talked with Leo, not sure of longterm plans and need to know for the future of the tech side and what I posted


Nina: Fine. Think our motivation and capacity for the project have gone down. Don’t feel the politics moved forward, and don’t see scaling up happening now because some things are still not working as they should. What was the timeline for the SK? Appreciate extra people like Amelia getting involved.

Sergio: Think it’s time for us to reconsider instead of possibly letting it die slowly. Better to call a meeting to reconfigure. The cafe won’t be available forever so need to make plans. Organising feedback from food recipients to see where to go. Capacity and motivation in general not enough to survive forever.

Carlos: Feels like a charity project sometimes, and creating relationship of dependency. This is a problem, so need to turn it more into a cooperative or mutual aid project.

Sergio: We’re horizontal and not just another charity, feels mostly unidirectional and for sustainability we’d need to go to mutual aid and downscale.

Carlos: Why it’s important to hear from recipients.

Nina: Newsletters, vocabulary and narrative good but could be more transformative in terms of meetings of participants.

Carlos: Was a meeting of participants on Tuesday, only 5-6 attended but interesting.

Nina: COVID-19 is emergency situation, but could allocate more time to this.

Sergio: Need to be frank with recipients and getting back to a new normal, need more involvement from you.

Carlos: Not something we can decide here. Big decision which needs as many people as possible to make a decision.

Nina: Warehouse not going to be available forever. If we could find other ways of sharing and being cooperative. Good to see if Stirchley Baths could work, or possibly grants. Leo mentioned TAWS.

Sergio: Need longterm space which is ours. Could use our position to negotiate but don’t know if would happen.

Nina: At Coventry Peace House, if people have a shared space to cook they will use it.

Sergio: We already are depending on the furlough of the cafe. Impossible for us to find something magically free of connections.

Carlos: Lots of people going back to work. Will struggle with number of participants. COnsider how to scale down.

Nina: Levels of stress not sustainable.

AP: Call for a relatively urgent meeting - Sergio

Carlos: Decision shouldn’t be made in the meeting.

Sergio: Should be in next newsletter.

2. Tech update

Carlos: Didn’t manage to finish the app before went back to FT work. Good to form a group of tech for good and for people who want to be involved in tech, and produce an app that can be used by coops more generally. More stable, more adaptable, and around that build a community which is more sustainable. Would be good to empower people over coding.

App to manage passwords. Have a lot of people with access, so should rotate the password frequently. Leo and I both very busy.

CoopCycle maybe for the Warehouse moving forward, but don’t think there is involvement from SK. No need for us to get too involved on code side.

Is the forum useful as it is? Not so many participants get involved there. Trying to identify what’s going on with that. Maybe too many categories.

Sergio: Some people still feel like they don’t know enough, and some barrier. Seemed good at the beginning but not so useful now.

Nina: Heard some people didn’t know of forum.

Carlos: Some people just not sure who’s there, like names.

Nina: Promote more, and look for simpler version

Sergio: Think all WGs should not be hidden. Not clear what criteria is.

Kaeden: Was artefact of forum settings

AP: Post on forum with poll to decide whether to remove the criteria on forum - Carlos

3. Feedback from food recipients

Carlos: At the moment feel it’s completely unidirectional. Dylan has reservations on the forum. Weird feedback from recipients.

Nina: Since only people who have contact with recipients are drivers and mostly BR1. Good to spend time chatting with people, maybe tomorrow.

Sergio: Having hard time with rota, but get one extra person in rota next week. Everyday calling people for 2-3 hours and telling people about us. Also this poll to decide what we want to know. Could be leaflets in the food deliveries with sending answers to this email address. Phone and email can probably meet most of the people.

Nina: More efficient to call. Should be someone from coordination team.

Carlos: Goal of gathering feedback is to decide on the future. Dylan or someone should be involved in designing the poll.

Segio: Could phrase more as a conversation.

Kaeden: How relationship is seen depends on tone.

Nina: Team feeling is motivation of project.

Carlos: Difficult for non-native English speakers.

Leo: Even just conversationally passing amongst ourselves, the feedback is valuable.

4. Filming project(s)

Sergio: One who onboarded him. Told him to write on forum and he did. Quite serious about it.

AP: Connect them directly with e.g. Ciara - Sergio

Leo: Journo filming unreliable, more interested in independent film makers.

Return to 1.

Nina: Need to check with recipients each week.

Leo: Cannot depend completely on a few hours per day at the Warehouse.

Sergio: Need our own space. While we’re in a beter position, could maybe negotiate long term lease.

Leo: Could be different model, like looking more in Coop Kentish Town who had a model which worked before the pandemic.

Sergio: Could rent a social centre and all members who can afford pay a small fee per month, and with donations plus membership fees we could pay for having this space.

Carlos: Food truck or van converted into kitchen??

Leo: Not much material benefit for people working with us. Maybe some way to shift to more benefits for all of us. E.g. if we move towards Coop Kentish Town as one aspect of Coop Brum, like a food box, even if we paid some money to it.

Serio: Would prefer our own space.

Carlos: Space to talk about tech and empower people.

Leo: Already have the cafe for that. So not totally clear that a new space is needed. Have been talking about the move from a health crisis to an economic crisis. Other ideas like Coop Cycle. Shift more to economic intervention, and shift to some minimal food thing using hospitality chain and Fareshare.

Sergio: Disagree we should rely on the cafe so much because of when they will be unfurloughed.

Carlos: Kitchen cannot be both for SK and cafe, too limited.

Leo: Agree. Can’t do cooking without chefs. Not proposing to continue with same model, wouldn’t need kitchen for veg box. Continue some aspect of food relief but which needs less resources and is more mutual. Logisitics and delivery infrastructure will be very useful.

Leo: Idea of feminist taxi coop.

Sergio: Did anyone speak about the Stirchley Baths?

Sean: If we want to go for it we can get it. Disagree somewhat with how many people it would take. Could do it less days a week. If we did go for it, it would last longer than the pandemic. Don’t know when Cherrys or Warehouse will reopen.

Sergio: What were the conditions? Would we have to pay?

Sean: If we went earlier, would have been free with no solid lease. Good to get foot in the door there, if we wanted to shift to Stirchley, even maybe for certain days.

Sergio: Should consider shifting, why wait til it happens then panic.

Sean: Good to provide some mutual benefit but not sure food boxes are the best way to do it. Works in a smaller geography than we’re operating in. Maybe we’d be better about interfacing and talking to other organisations. Feels a bit more fragmented.

Sergio: Organise a meeting to dicuss the future, need more people.

AP: Post on forum about making cookies for BLM protest(s) this week - Sean

Impromptu finance report from Ben: first of all sorry for my absence, it has been difficult keeping on top of participant coordination today as we have had inexperienced backroom participants so I have had to do a lot of it. I won’t be able to make the meeting so I am writing this quick report.

Since I am now going back to 5 days work I would appreciate it if someone else can be found to do participant coordination although it is generally something I enjoy. The finances are going well as we continue to get lots of donations (still mostly Gofundme but also some good direct donations).

We are still not effectively encouraging people to set up gocardless donations which would be a more stable, less campaign-based source of funds in the long run.

I think we should reopen the conversation regarding paying for our printing as it is nice that Joseph is doing it free but we have plenty of money to pay for people’s valuable work.

I am awaiting some requests for hardship grants from kitchen workers if they can’t live on furlough wages. The money is there and I think requests will be well received by the meeting (can’t commit ahead of time obviously) but it needs to come as a formal request, please don’t be shy.

We have recently spent about £200 on thermometers to help with participant safety, I will arrange getting these to the cafe when they arrive next week.

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