Organising meeting Sunday 7th June 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.

A link to the meeting and to the updated agenda will be posted here on Sunday afternoon.



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I’ve posted two proposals on the forum recently related to the future of the project.

One is about kitchens after lockdown: Proposal: kitchens after lockdown

The other is a proposal for a meeting with Warehouse staff: Proposal for Warehouse/SK joint meeting timeline creation

But also I see @Sergio propose a similar meeting but I’m not sure if they have exactly the same goal so I don’t know if I should delete the thread. Maybe we can discuss this?

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Minutes for Cooperation Birmingham organising meeting 7th June 2020 6.30pm

Attendees: Leo, Sean, Sergio, Kaeden, Dylan, Seb, Nina, Ben


  • Wellbeing check-in

  • Transition of meal delivery project

  • Warehosue cafe meeting

  • Open invite

  • Coop cycle trial

  • Newsletter feedback

  • Feedback from recipients

  • Backroom coordinator


transition of meal delivery project & warehosue cafe meeting

  • Sean: Discussion about doing Friday because the furlough is changing it becomes more expensive for businesses, so discussion about unfurloughing Paul at the Warehouse so they could do Friday night fish n chips in July maybe. No practical reason it would need to impact the SK because could do double meals the night before.

  • Seb: Space in Front Of house is quite big so as long as we don’t have sit-ins we could use the space for Coop Brum. Shouldn’t be a big problem. Night hours 4/5pm is our current hours for sending food to drivers, could extend to 10/11pm.

  • Seb: Don’t know how many parcticpants are available, would need many to deep clean front of house. Kitchen is doing really well in general. Healthy to be in this social environment and being in the kitchen 2/3 days a week.

  • Seb: One Sunday last week there were problems with backroom 3 even as drivers arrived we hadn’t got a list. So stressful and tense atmosphere, but managed. Is it a shortage of participants because they went back to work?

  • Nina: I’ve been contacting since Friday for backroom and for drivers and has been quite hard, way longer to find people. Lots of people going back to work or moving back somewhere. Sometimes it’s “I cannot make it today”.

  • Sergio: Same experience on Weds because we were short. Out of 20 people I contacted, 15 were back to work.

  • Dylan: Been thinking of different ways we can not just fizzle out, but also how we can exit the current situation, would think this is good though not everyone may agree. My proposal is that running kitchens in a more localised way after lockdown, and doing this as a Food Not Bombs style org, hopefully get the Stirchley Baths kitchen to use on a more long term basis, which we talked about before. This would be instead of Warehouse. Not just Stirchley but a model which could be replicated in other communities. How we can build on the idea longer term.

  • Sergio: Last meeting we discussed this a bit, and said we would have a specific meeting for this purpose, why I created this poll. Seems like next Sat. Aim is to increase number of participants in meeting for decision. But agree we need to start downscaling which is happening a bit. Should think about a sustainable transition. Can start now but can discuss more in the specific meeting.

  • Sean: What we did was logical given we had the kitchen, but was talking to Mani and the reason we set this up as Coop Brum not just SK is that we can use it as a building block. I know people are worn out and pissed off. Given possibility of 2nd wave and depression we need to transition Coop Brum to set up Coop Cycle. Means trialling with the people who were into it. Ecosystem of ideas: composting, cycle, meals, getting the warehouse going again. Mani suggested doing meals but not for delivery. Could subsidise from Coop Brum. Different way to our current model. We’ve built the mutual aid org with the most grounding in political stuff, but need more grounding in communities. Tech and structure very cool, so shouldn’t just lose the wind from our sails.

  • Nina: Very cool suggestion, and agree with the aim of Coop Brum, but since we now have experience from the SK we need to clarify what mutual aid in our project is, considering many people burning out. Whether we want to reframe the SK within Coop Brum, after the meeting next Sat we need to have another meeting on reflections from these months, what was mutual, what we did well, what was lacking…

  • Dylan: Feel it’s the wrong way round. Need to have a debrief before proposals for how to move on. Based on involvement in MH project movement, we have had a n extremely drawn out process on what it would mean and contradictions. Sometimes useful. We didn’t have a chance to do that because we were responding to a crisis. Sometimes too afraid to admit when something hasn’t gone the way we conceptualised it to go. We didn’t do something bad, but we didn’t do necessarily the most politically useful thing for the future. We did have some meetings where we tried to think about aims and principles, but were all tired. SOme level of urgency because we need to wind down but we also don’t want to lose momentum. Think it’s worth having some kind of analysis of what we want to acheive by doing it. Important to do before we can decide on anything.

  • Sergio: Want some analysis of where we’re at now and what we’ve achieved. We didn’t do the most transformative thing ever, but what we did was good, by creating a pragmatic option for some peopl.e Now in a good position to start something new. I can prepare a diagram or a couple of slides with where we’re at, and can start the next meeting to debate that.

  • Nina: Participants feedback meeting, could analyse which steps were not as could have been.

  • Seb: Think this is really needed after 2 months, maybe a problem because it’s necessary to see how it went to know how to proceed. We are at a very good point to grow a platform but would need to know more clearly how to go forward.

  • Sean: Inquiry into conditions of all participants would be good. To get discussion points and feelings, have someone who calls up everyone and do a mutual aid enquiry. But the people who are coming to meetings and participating shouldn’t be afraid to do things. The way things get done is showing up day after day. We need to think about it at the same time that we are doing something. Maybe an enquiry in the next week or so, and wind down the meal deliveries over the next month.

  • Sean: I did a callout on the Plan C email list for BBF but also people who want to get involved in Coop Brum, maybe in the country. Going to have a chat with Dave who may move to Brum. Things like Coop Cycle or Composting which we can’t do that because people are putting so much effort into backroom coordination. Can’t do all these things at once. In the process of winding down, we need to get more people in backroom coordination so we can have a breather.

  • Dylan: Proposal to do timeline with the cafe and SK. If things were winding down that would be better. We could have proposals to start doing this as we wind down. Helpful to see what sort of time scales we’re looking at, what we expect to have happened by XYZ time. Could be helpful on a longer term scale could be nice to do a timescale on Coop Brum.

  • Sergio: Problem for the meeting is we need to have new proposals before timeline. Also working so much and putting so much effort into daily operations there is no time to create an alternative. Nobody has the time for that. Agree and would be good, but we need some people dedicated to work on this and a plan.

  • Sean: In immediate short term we need enough people for backroom coordination. We don’t want to slow it down. Already some proposals on the table, and a bunch of different things we can work on, it’s whether we think it’s a good idea. We maybe need a longer timeline in terms of goals and a short term timetline of how we can wind down without just stopping.

  • Nina: There are no people to call. People are going back to work or have changed their priorities. Dedication to SK was an exceptional situation because they had time and no job. But in a practical way the energy is gone. Took all day yesterday and today with Amelia to fill in backroom shifts. I’m burned out. I’m working all days, Peace House, allotment. Tired to be there all the time. Today been working all day, core backroom are burned out. Been working all day there. Needs to be sustatinable for everything. See more as week not month scale. Don’t want to be a charity.

  • Sergio: Agree, 150 meals not sustatinable, was exceptional. But we have grown. Now the Left is 10-20 more people if we get people involved in real mutual aid projects like Dylan was suggesting with second kitchen, or maybe growing.

  • Sean: What I’m proposing.

  • Sergio: Recently our number are lower. 121. Should stop taking new orders and let numbers go down gradually.

  • Leo: Do need a plan to manage that. Think also some of the questions about mutuality have had lots of discussion, but we haveb’t had the time to share those amongst all of us.

  • Dylan: What I meant initially by the timeline is working out an exit strategy but maybe also the beginnings of a forward strategy. Unhelpfully added idea of longer term thing which is a seperate excercise. My assessment is we need to give people at least 2 weeks’ notice we will be stopping the meals. This seems reasonable to me. And also remind them. Could let them know through the newsletter with a flyer with other places they may be able to access food. Maybe also call them to say stopping on this date, so not sudden.

  • Leo: Sounds like a good sort of plan. Don’t have much obligation to keep this going, only people and money people have donated. Simultaneoudly to winding down the SK and speaking to ppl who get food, we should also speak to people who donated about proposals for future. Think this would be acceptable so they know their money isn’t going to waste.

  • Sean: Seems like there’s tons of funding around. SK and Coop Cycle could do the same job but get funding to do it. Could be part of the Coop ecosystem we’re trying to create. Want to see if it’s possible to use what we’ve built for someone else. Everyone is saying there’s funding for so many things. Not saying we should do that but maybe the cafe could do that.

  • Leo: Paul was talking about this. Idea was the cafe taking a quiet day of the week and seek funding to make the SK kitchen and people could be paid for it. Maybe not the same people involved, but might be. Cooperative work as response to shift to economic crisis. Could even pay people to apply for funding.

  • Dylan: Why do we want to do that and what will it acheive? Need to dig into this and not be led by what we’re already doing. Often happens when been invested in a project, feel you have to continue or say it was good for whatever reason. Don’t want to be too tied into this thing if it’s the thing which will help us acheive what we want to acheive. Problem with grants is they all have conditions and be in a specific model and think it’s a big problem and against it. Not creating autonomy which is what I want to do. Not have a cycle of relying on state like NGOs. Making a coop could be a compromise, but not if it’s relying on grants.

  • Leo: Agree with a lot of that. My idea is to create cooperative jobs.

  • Sean: Have a point about relying on NGOs and grants. But if the cafe could get some of their income guaranteed, they will have their own autonomy and way to provide their other services. Don’t think we should be totally grant funded and make hierarchy and volunteers. But if could be handed over to worker coops would be good. Need to creatively explore things. Think about how long we want to continue this conversation more.

  • Leo: Good to pause it there.

  • Dylan: Not clear what the meeting will be. Does there need to be a seperate timeline meeting?

  • Sergio: Can be what we want, but my idea was bit to reflect and bit for goals and then a plan for how to get there.

  • Nina: We need to know how many people are onboard so how long it’s feasible to go on.

  • Leo: Makes sense to have a seperate conversation with the warehouse which is maybe a seperate discussion from the futures one. Both necessary.

  • Dylan: Good to have the discussion. Example of MH meeting. Happy to structure this.

  • Sergio: Was already doing, but could do with you. Agree need to have clear structure.

  • Sean: Vision that Coop Brum would be an org who supports the solidarity economy and mutual aid in the city, and if things went upwards it would do many things. Feel like I’m talking to people with similar ideas. We need to have a goal of what the project is about. Need to have a vision.

  • Leo: Feel like this is the same as the futures meeting. When we had the politics meeting and agreed things, if they included a direction and vision then we can just decide to build a solidarity economy.

  • Sergio: This vision is what we’re trying to come up with. Will take into account what we already discussed in the politics meeting so don’t need to go through everything again. Need a flexible vision. This is what we will do in the futures meeting.

  • Sean: Already trying to work on these things outside the operation of the kitchen. Maybe we need a master plan then a timeline. Got the food bit, others are embryonic. This project is about something, but it hasn’t been clearly defined.

  • Leo: Needs to be ongoing conversation.

  • Seb: Urgent at the moment as it isn’t possible to continue at this capacity. No other way but to wind down somehow.

  • Kaeden: Proposal to stop taking new orders.

  • Sergio: Agree.

  • Nina: Could instead/ as well limit capacity e.g 50 meals. Already burned out. Could downscale quantity.

  • Dylan: Don’t think it’s feasible. If you stop delivering to some, needs to be to all. But needs to be an amount of work reduced. Agree with Kae’s proposal. Feel like it’s already been happening in the backroom.

  • Sean: Needs to be equal. Another thing we could say is that it’s collection only. Money for that could

  • Kaeden: Would be differnt people as most couldn’t collect.

  • Leo: Does anyone want to speak against Kae’s proposal? Does anyone have clarifying questions?

  • Sean: Would backroom 1 still be needed if we stopped new orders?

  • Dylan: Yes, just a bit less work for everyone. Could maybe take half an hour to an hour. Could smush backroom 1 and 2 into one thing. Need to find less people to do it.

  • Sergio: In 1 week or so we could think about it again. In the mid term it will reduce a lot. We get many people dropping out. Not the case yet, but could check next week.

  • Nina: Getting less drivers, but less recipients. More feasible timetline for drivers.

  • Leo: Does anyone object to the proposal?

*** No objections so decision made to stop taking new orders.**

  • Leo to put decision on forum and change the voicemail, and note on website. Could positively frame the announcement. Furlough cut but communities suffering, govt needs to step up. Something along those lines.

  • Sergio: We want to involve recipients and participants in future projects. How do we involve them in decision making?

    Rest of agenda points to be carried forward