Proposal: From Solidarity Kitchen to Solidarity Kitchen Cafe!


  • In favour
  • Against
  • Abstain
  • Block

0 voters

Solidarity kitchen cafe has been created following the emergence of Solidarity Kitchen and The Cooperation Birmingham collective. A Community Interest Company (CIC) was set up and a bank account opened to move forward the cafe proposal. We have raised £4000+ of funds and plan to source more of the £18,000 yearly running costs through a mixture of crowdfunding, grants and cafe turnover. (The biggest costs are the two paid roles- General and Kitchen Manager). We plan to open the once weekly pay as you feel cafe on Monday 21st June.

We currently have regular Monday morning meetings at 10am and work meetings through the week. We welcome all to come and bring their gifts to develop the business plan and raise our profile as we approach the opening date.

To maintain the open communication and encourage active participation by all, we propose that those that wish to contribute to the The Solidarity Kitchen Cafe attend a Monday meeting or email us on: . Members of the cafe shall attend regular meetings of Cooperation Birmingham to develop the support between projects and maintain transparency and accountability.

A link to our business plan:

Goals of the solidarity cafe:
Build on the success of Cooperation Birmingham and Solidarity Kitchen
Offer a community space with access to different services (Micro rainbow, LGBT centre Brum, CRISIS, SIFA)
Offering food and beverages on a PAYF basis
Create links between the differents organisations and community
Space for grassroot projects to emerge
Space for the arts, performance, music etc

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this proposal was put together by @Paul

Question: will there be an ethical framework to decide who we will and won’t partner with?


I like the idea that it is PAYF. However, we know that sometimes this type of setting can make people feel “forced” to donate. It also doesn’t feel nice for people who can’t afford to pay to see how others in the queue might be donating money.

So I propose that we try to make it PAYF but keeping a key principal of the solidarity kitchen: “we take no money and we ask no questions”. Then, on Mondays we wouldn’t take any cash. Instead, we would show a QR code, or a link to a website where people could donate if they wish. Like crowdfunding, the open collective, or whatever.

Alternatively, we could also have a money box somewhere in the cafe, but not directly in the ordering area to avoid people feeling intimidated or forced to donate. However, be aware that the Cafe already had problems with people stealing tip boxes in the past…

Also, if this is to be one of the flagship projects of Cooperation Birmingham, we should try to keep an inclusive structure and language.

In terms of language, we decided in the past to refer to people taking part in Coop Brum activities as participants and not volunteers (see article in the 2nd newsletter). I know it might be difficult to change our ways of speaking, but language has a great influence in the ways that we see the world and that we relate with our environment (including other people).

In terms of structure, it seems completely hierarchical, and no different from charitable organisations. I would encourage you to find ways in which participants can take responsibilities and even make decisions, ways to manage the solidarity cafe in common. It should become an open project. The division between “directors” and “volunteers” doesn’t seem very promising to me in terms following principles of mutual aid and direct democracy.


Before voting, I would like to know:
-if Sergio’s comments are being considered and there is the plan to update the current proposal including them

  • what is the difference between against and block? and how many votes are required to block a proposal? I am sorry if this info has been already shared.

I won’t be able to vote until these points are clear.


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Currently we are open to anyone who offers their time to support the growth of the project. I’m interested in what the ethical framework may look like. Could you put a proposal that we can bring to the weekly general meeting. Thx

Mondays 10am

Our intention is clear, that lack of money is not a barrier to access the cafe and its offerings. I propose we put up a poster in the cafe clearly affirming this. I also propose that we welcome those with money to pay for and contribute towards the sustainable running of the cafe. That we will happily take cash from those wishing to pay. (Our intention is to serve those that drop into the cafe and may wish to make purchases too!)

I like the idea of a QR code and adding it to flyers on tables affirming the cafes mission and how to donate.

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Thanks Sergio, have you got a link to the second news letter? We are happy to use the word participants, though unclear how to differentiate between cafe users and those offering their time to run the cafe. i.e participants could be confused with those attending workshops and events. Also the word volunteer may be useful for those with little or no English.

The structure we are using (a CIC) has directors as a legal requirement. Our weekly meetings are open to all and we are absolutely keen to encourage more people to participate as we move towards the opening. Do you have a proposal? What is an open project? Our guiding influence is to open the cafe and create the space. The challenge sometimes can be to remain focused and not be distracted or confused by the detail. Cecile and myself are doing our best to move the project forward. We welcome anyone who feels able to help build the structures that ensure all who wish to participate can. In recent weeks people are coming to the meeting to offer their time and expertise.

Hey paul here is a link to the newsletter for you to have a look at again

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