Using our funds

At our meeting today (20th Dec) we discussed the money we have and what we might like to do with it. Donations have continued to be quite good and although we’re not bringing in anywhere near as much as we were at the peak, we’re also spending a lot less because we don’t have petrol expenses, and ingredients are lower too. This means we’re accumulating quite a lot - about £3,800 in the bank at the moment.

£900 of that will go on the fridge, and probably about £500 on Fareshare and other ingredients etc. We will also be paying BFoE £70 a day for rent and utilities, which in recent weeks has been more than covered by our weekly donations, so we are on track to increase our reserves.

It seems right that we shouldn’t sit on this cash so we should have a discussion about what to do with it. Two things we spoke about at the meeting were:

  1. Agree a level of reserves, eg £1,000, that we keep for emergencies. Any projects or normal expenditure shouldn’t draw on this. To be discussed:
    a) Is this a good idea in general?
    b) How much?
    c) Do we need an agreed mechanism for getting at it, eg some kind of supermajority vote?

  2. Spend some of it on something material, eg. ‘Building Communities’ badges that would be a) a nice thing to have and b) potentially a bit of a fundraiser if we can sell them to people. To be discussed:
    a) Is this a good idea in general?
    b) Is the badge a good idea?

Another thing that we didn’t talk about but which I think might be worth considering is some sort of democratic grant giving, whether as individual material solidarity or as seed funding for projects that might (or might not) directly fall under the CB umbrella but broadly agree with our principles. In practice requests for expenditure either come directly to me if they’re indisputable (eg. running expenses) or are discussed on the forum usually by a small number of people. It would be good if this second mechanism could be strengthened, both in the sense of greater democratic participation but also in simple terms of the number of proposals put in.

I should probably raise again another related finance task which is that we should ideally set up a separate CB bank account (complicated by the lack of incorporation but perhaps there are still options?), and/or also add extra authorities to the account so that it’s not just me. I’m happy to continue with the finance work as I have so far but we do need some kind of backup in case I’m hit by a bus etc.


PS I’m suggesting that we discuss this here until we come to a general proposal how to use our funds that we can vote on, either on the forum or hopefully at a revitalised meeting!

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It’s a short term one but could we donate say £100-200to the Unison striking hospital porters hardship fund. It’s not much but it’d really help them. We can write an article saying why solidarity with workers and unions is essential.

Yes, I think that’s a good way of strengthening the natural links between mutual aid organisation and the struggle for worker rights. We could even ring fence a proportion of income (eg. 10%) to go towards strike funds on the regular

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Following the meeting today where we approved the donation, I have sent £200 to the Heartlands porters strike fund.