Loomio
Tue 20 Apr

CoTech summer gathering at Selgar's Mill.

LK
Lucy King Public Seen by 87

Update 27/04

Poll extended until Friday 30th as requested by @Autonomic Co-operative. New text in orange, outdated text crossed out.

Update 22/04

Proposal has been updated following discussion below. New text in red, outdated text crossed out.

Poll has been closed and a new one opened :)

Background

@Sion Whellens (Principle Six/Calverts) first raised the idea of joining the CoTech gathering together with the Worker Co-op weekend on the forum here and it was discussed further at the CoTech Spring Gathering where we decided to run a poll to gauge interest.

The Worker Co-op Weekend will be running from Friday 22nd July - Sunday 25th July at Selgar's Mill, the space which is now being managed by Stir to Action. The CoTech gathering would be on the Friday during the day, meaning we would need to arrive on Thursday 21st evening, which means extending the booking at Selgar's Mill by a night at a cost of £1500 (inc of 5% VAT). This cost includes accommodation (camping and in rooms) and facilities (cooking, internet etc, washrooms) but not food.

It seems like at least 9 people are interested in attending (the poll was only live for a week), and the majority of respondents to the poll (4/8) felt that we should use the CoTech fund to cover the cost of the extra night at Selgar's Mill, plus food/drink for the Friday night/Thursday day.

The Worker Co-op weekend will continue on from Friday night - Sunday.

Motivation

  • It would be very nice to see people in person

  • Selgar's Mill looks amazing and it would be great to support Stir to Action

  • A more integrated worker co-op movement is a stronger one, this will encourage members to participate in the Worker Co-op weekend and form connections there

  • Covering the cost with the fund means people are more likely to be able to join, particularly after a potentially difficult year. This will also hopefully go some way towards addressing the travel cost/time to Devon.

Proposal

We commit to covering the cost of an extra night at Selgar's Mill (which will be a maximum of £1500) and the cost of food and drink for the Thursday night and Friday day time, estimated at £200 if it is not covered by ticket prices. Tickets will be sold via Co-ops UK at an equivalent price per night to the Worker Co-op weekend, which hasn't been confirmed yet but the prices from the last one were £66 for 2 nights camping, £84 for 2 nights in a room. which is as follows:

Camping (2 nights Fri & Sat) -  £60 + VAT for members and £85 for non-members

Dorm (2 nights Fri & Sat) - £80 + VAT for members and £115 for non-members

Private room (2 nights Fri & Sat) - £100 + VAT for members and £145 for non-members

Saturday daytime only - £30 + VAT  for members and £43 for non-members

They have agreed to give us a ticket to cover Friday night and Saturday day for the camping option only, at around £45 for members.


Accommodation - both camping and in dorms/rooms. As we will be there first, all the rooms will be available on the Thursday night. However, we don't want to be blocking them all throughout the weekend if people are staying on - so there are some logistics to be managed there.

Food - there are ample cooking facilities at the venue so we can cook throughout the evening/day, with enough willing volunteers. (I would love to hear if people are willing to do this or not. Otherwise, we can order food or go to the pub, but the budget might not totally cover that). Any surplus from ticket sales will go towards the catering costs and we can create another proposal re. how to manage food there. Any surplus beyond that would go back into the CoTech fund.

Timeframe

We need to let Co-ops UK know our decision as they will add it on the their booking form, making it easier for us all. So a short timeframe is necessary, and the poll closes in a week.

Please...

  • Ask any clarifying questions

  • Raise any critical concerns

  • Vote in the poll if you are a contributor of the CoTech fund

  • Comment below with suggestions/questions/volunteering to cook etc etc.

LK

Lucy King started a proposal Tue 20 Apr

CoTech Fund - Proposal to cover costs of CoTech gathering at Selgar's Mill. Closed Thu 22 Apr

Outcome
by Lucy King Thu 22 Apr

Closing to open a new poll which reflects updates and discussion

Agree - 1
Abstain - 0
Disagree - 0
Block - 0
1 people have voted (0%)
SWS

If Solidfund goes ahead with a strategy session on the same day, and/or Young Cooperators Network goes ahead with a gathering on the same day, then costs could be shared. However these 2 groups have yet to consider. If one or both of them wanted to be there on the 22nd, it should be straightforward to manage numbers and meeting/breakout spaces to meet everyone's needs.

AHC

Thanks for posting this @Lucy King Clarifying questions:

  • How much money is in the CoTech fund right now? How long is this for? My queston really is how much of the fund will this proposal take up and will we have any money left over til the next round of subs?

Critical concern:

  • I'm worried there are not enough interested / committed people in CoTech who can and want to go to this event - the poll tells me engagement is really low and it might require a lot of effort to find this out. I want to go, but I also don't want to use a large amount of our fund to support just a few people to go. For me this proposal only works with a good amount of people.

LK

Lucy King Tue 20 Apr

Great questions @Aaron Hirtenstein (Agile Collective), I don't know the answers and was actually wondering myself. Is there a way we can easily find out how much ££ we have in the fund?

Secondly, is there a way we can adapt the proposal to take your concern into account? E.g. we propose instead that CoTech contributes a certain amount per person who attends, and if this doesn't cover the whole cost, individual co-ops will have to chip in too? Sounds a bit complicated, maybe someone else can simplify somehow 😄How many people is it worth it for, for you?

LK

Lucy King Tue 20 Apr

Thanks to @PollyRobbinsOutlandish I have found out some of the answers - there's currently £3,505.07 in the account and this years subscriptions should come in around June/July. What I don't know is if some of that money is already 'spoken for'.

CCC

@Lucy King wrote:

E.g. we propose instead that CoTech contributes a certain amount per person who attends, and if this doesn't cover the whole cost, individual co-ops will have to chip in too?

I'd suggest considering doing it the other way around, individuals / co-ops contribute a certain amount per person who attends and if this doesn't cover the whole cost then the CoTech fund covers the difference -- this is what was done for the last event in Newcastle.

CCC

For context each two day CoTech gathering in 2019, Newcastle and Sheffield, charged "low income price £11.00, standard price £33.00, solidarity price £44.00 and super-solidarity price £66.00" and people were left to make their own accommodation arrangements. As far as I recall we covered the costs in Sheffield and we agreed to cover the additional costs for the Newcastle event from the fund, £217.

We don't yet know the prices for the Workers Co-op Weekend, however we do have the prices from the last one, £66 for two night camping and £84 for two night in a room (these are the uk.coop members prices), so I would expect the prices for the additional day to be around half these prices. There was also £1,500 available as bursaries from SolidFund "to support people to attend the worker co-op weekend... subsidised/free tickets and contributions towards travel expenses".

I'd hate to see this proposed event not go ahead due to there not being an agreement to fully fund it and would expect that many of the CoTech co-ops could afford to pay for tickets, the two key things I'd like to see the fund used for are:

  1. Helping people who couldn't afford to attend without assistance.

  2. Covering any gap between ticket sales and the costs.

BP

Ben Philp Thu 22 Apr

This sounds like a sensible approach, I'm best man at a wedding the same weekend so cant make it I'm afraid

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NGW

Really torn about this.

Obviously we really want to support the CoTech and if that includes contributing to people being able to attend gatherings to help grow and extend the network fantastic. However, our membership was very clear when I first approached them about contributing to the fund, we're happy to contribute as long as it's for the benefit of the CoTech and not just used for 'parties and booze'. I know this proposal is a little more involved than that in truth, but I'm not sure how comfortable our members would be with it.

I feel like the funds would be better used supporting members who have struggled due to the pandemic than a meet-up weekend. Particularly at the moment when I think a lot of people would be put off a face to face gathering (I know I would)

That said I'm not sure I completely grasp the financial ask of the proposal, as reading the initial proposal I felt we were talking a big chunk of money, however from what Chris says maybe it's not that much? A clearer breakdown of the amount being asked would definitely help.

Sorry if I'm missing the point, I generally stay out of the finance discussions as trust there's people here who know much better when it comes to distribution of the money, but this one just doesn't feel right.

LK

Lucy King Wed 21 Apr

The breakdown is - £1500 for the venue hire, max £200 for dinner Thursday, breakfast and lunch on Friday - very much guesstimated based on previous gatherings. Sorry if that sounds obtuse as I'm basically just repeating the above! Very happy to provide more clarity if you let me know where it's missing?

NGW

Hi Lucy, so just to confirm. From a pot of £3,505.07, the proposal is asking for £1,700 which would cover a stay at Selgar's Mill and food and drink?

If that's correct I guess my questions would be:

- How many rooms would this provide for CoTech members?
- What would happen if more CoTech members requested rooms than were available?

Or are we saying that this £1,500 is just for the venue and doesn't cover the cost to stay over? If this is the case, how many people from CoTech would be committed to going? Basically would it be value for money for the CoTech, or would we end up paying £1,500 for four or five people to get together (which we could obviously do a lot cheaper if that's the case)

Sorry if I'm fundamentally missing a point here, my brain is a bit fried juggling a few bits but aware of the tight deadline so didn't want to miss the opportunity to clarify.

CCC

The £1,500 covers the cost of the whole venue for 24 hours, this includes:

  • Nine bedrooms which sleep 20 in total.

  • Half-acre camping field with room for 30 tents.

See the plan and the PDF brochure, but this cost doesn't cover food. However if either of the other two proposed events on the same day take place the costs and amount of accommodation would be reduced, we might need at least half the people to camp if this is the case, but since it's summer and that might not be a problem, I'd rather camp.

If there were 20 people paying £40 for the night for a bed in a room and 35 people paying £20 a night to pitch a tent that would cover the £1,500, there might not be enough CoTech people for some figures like this to work out but there are the two other groups that might also be there as well, it will be interesting to see what the prices are for the Workers Co-op Weekend.

NGW

cool, thanks Chris. Not trying to be difficult...promise! :-)

CCC

Not a problem Nick, the concerns you and @Aaron Hirtenstein (Agile Collective) have raised are legitimate and need addressing.

LK

Lucy King Wed 21 Apr

Yes, totally! thanks for adding those details @Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative)

CLF

55 people attending from CoTech feels like it might be a bit of a stretch given the current engagement. Do we have any sense yet of how many people might attend? I think it's quite unlikely that I will due to family commitments.

CCC

My feeling is that there are probably around a dozen keen people at the moment, however if the Covid situation doesn't take a turn for the worse then based on past events I'd guess that we might have a turn out of around 30 or 40 people, it is also possible that things go well Covid wise -- with all restrictions removed and a good weather forecast we might have more?

LK

Lucy King Wed 21 Apr

Hello all, sounds like there are some critical concerns. I made the original proposal based on the CoTech forum poll, where people voted for this option (admittedly, there were not that many responses) - so it would be good to hear from them.

Very happy to update the proposal to try to address the critical concerns, but perhaps @Nick Greenhill (Co-op Web) and @Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) you could state more explicitly what they are, so that I make sure I meet them when I refactor the proposal? E.g. @Nick Greenhill (Co-op Web) is it a critical concern for you if the fund is used to cover any catering costs, or is there a limit that you'd be more comfortable with? For example, if we asked members to buy tickets, we could propose CoTech makes up any difference in both venue hire and catering costs. If we are going to cook together, it does seem to make sense to have a central fund to cover it. We have previously covered extra catering costs out of the fund (for the Newcastle gathering).

CCC

We don't yet know what the cost will be, as @Sion Whellens (Principle Six/Calverts) pointed out:

If Solidfund goes ahead with a strategy session on the same day, and/or Young Cooperators Network goes ahead with a gathering on the same day, then costs could be shared. However these 2 groups have yet to consider.

If neither of these other possible meetings happen and 30 CoTech people attend then around £50 per head would cover the £1,500, if they do take place then this would be less.

I'd suggest that when we know what the cost will roughly be we could come up with some ticket prices which could include different prices for different circumstances, as we have for past events and we could then propose that the fund covers any shortfall in ticket sales?

LK

Lucy King Wed 21 Apr

@Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) the idea was that we would combine our booking form with the Worker Co-op one. To make it easy for people to book for the whole thing, if desired. If that's the case, I need to let them know by next week, and we won't know about these other meetings and therefore final cost at that point. If we don't feel comfortable signing off only knowing the maximum cost, then we can of course organise it independently - just seemed like a nice tidy way of doing it and of hopefully encouraging more attendance at the Worker Co-op weekend too.

CCC

That sounds fine to me, I'd also be happy to pay for the additional day at the same rate as the two Workers Co-op days if that is an option.

LK

Lucy King Thu 22 Apr

Sorry @Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) , which bit sounds fine to you? :)

CCC

Everything in this post sound fine to me, I hope we can reach an agreement that enables the gathering to take place.

An option I'd have picked in the poll on the Discourse forum, if it had been available, would have been something like this:

  • Tickets for the CoTech event to be sold alongside the Workers Co-op Weekend tickets, at a comparable price per night. If there is any shortfall this will be covered by the CoTech fund (the maximum this could potentially be is £1,500 if there are no tickets sold for the CoTech event or any other events taking place on the same day).

I wonder if we need another poll in this thread to list various different options?

LK

Lucy King Thu 22 Apr

I'd be happy to change the proposal to this, and nobody's spoken up in defence of CoTech paying for everything soo 🤷🏻‍♀️We could start a separate proposal re. covering catering costs, since that doesn't need to be decided yet. We could also run a proposal to provide some bursaries out of the fund if needed.

CCC

I agree that we can probably leave the catering costs out of the equation for the moment -- if the two other events @Sion Whellens (Principle Six/Calverts) mentioned do proceed then there is a chance that the simplest thing to do is to include food in the ticket prices and have the same price for the day of CoTech event as for each day of the Workers Co-op Weekend -- this would be the simplest solution for us if it is an option.

NGW

Hi Lucy, I've voted to abstain but wanted to explain a bit more why. I tried to write a full response in my vote but then loomio had a bit of a moan at me about it being too long!

First of all, thank you for putting the proposal together, I know proposals can be a massive pain at the best of times, so people like me chipping in with awkward questions can sometimes be frustrating. I appreciate you taking the time to answer and also thank you for @Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) for responding too.

Fundamentally I'm not against the fund being used to support get togethers to help grow and strengthen the CoTech. I admit, there is a concern our side of the CoTech fund not just being a party fund, which is where some of my nervousness of the proposal came from. But appreciate that's not what was being asked here and that's more about how I perceived the question rather than the reality of the request

While I think this proposal was difficult for us to get behind from the start, it's not that it's not right or a good proposal. I think the short timeframe for the decision, and the QA being over loomio probably didn't help me making the decision personally. I think if there was a lesson learned to take away from this for me it'd be that next time I'd probably request those of us with questions or not quite understanding arrange a call to go through the proposal in more detail - if that would be feasible? I'm not sure if that would have helped others, but certainly something I would have appreciated in hindsight (which is a wonderful thing!)

Anyway, as I said in my vote - keen to hear feedback from those that attend as always looking at how I can help make these decisions smoother in the long term :-)

CCC

Thanks @Nick Greenhill (Co-op Web), we had an hour of discussion on this at the Spring Break event on 9th April 2021, but I realise that your co-op (and others) were not represented at that, @Autonomic Co-operative have suggested extending the deadline of the vote to Friday, if this is done would you have time for a call about this between now and then?

LK

Lucy King started a proposal Thu 22 Apr

CoTech to make up any shortfall between ticket sales and cost of venue hire (max £1500) Closed Fri 30 Apr

Outcome
by Lucy King Tue 4 May

Sadly we haven't found a way to move ahead with this for now. However the Worker Coop weekend will still be going ahead and fingers crossed we can have some CoTech presence there. Hopefully we will also come up with another option for a summer gathering of sorts - if anyone is interested in collaborating on organising this, I'd be up for it so do get in touch :)

See full description above, only members of the CoTech fund can vote in this proposal.

Agree - 9
Abstain - 3
Disagree - 1
Block - 1
14 people have voted (10%)
LK

Lucy King
Agree
Thu 22 Apr

This seems like the most sensible option to me to get this ball rolling :)

G

Graham
Abstain
Thu 22 Apr

My co-op doesn't currently contribute to the pooled fund, so I'll abstain, but also just to say that it would be unlikely that we would get to Selgar's Mill.

AHC

This works for me, thanks @Lucy King for your work on this and sorry for not following up after my initial post.

SF

Shaun Fensom
Agree
Thu 22 Apr

On behalf of CBN. None of us will be able to make it.

AC

Autonomic Co-operative
Disagree
Thu 22 Apr

Our co-op thought it wasn't necessary to hold a summer gathering this year in the context of the pandemic. It's just too much stress and risk for us.

It's hard for us to agree to spend money on something we don't really think should go ahead in the first place. Not a hard block if others do want to go ahead but just registering our somewhat dissenting conclusion.

NGW

While I am yet to be convinced that this is a good use of the funds, I'm also not set dead against it and can see how there may be of some benefit to the CoTech community. Therefore I feel Abstain would be the correct vote (although let me know if that's not the case). I think given we're unlikely to attend, I'd like to hear feedback from those that do go as to if they felt it was worthwhile and a good use of the fund. Purely just for the insight for next time a similar proposal is made.

AC

Animorph Co-op
Agree
Thu 22 Apr

Thank you for following this through Lucy! 🙌 As many people who attended the spring gathering this month voiced, spending time together is an incredibly high-bandwidth way of strengthening our network and building relationships, which are the foundation of all the collaborations and work-sharing. Animorph fully backs this initiative!

HR

We discussed this at Outlandish - we don't think this is an appropriate use of funds as it's quite inaccessible and won't be able to benefit most of us/most co-ops. Key issues are a) it's in the school holidays which excludes a lot of people b) it's 4 hours from London and 7 hours from Newcastle and difficult/expensive to get to. We'd like to see the fund spent on things that can benefit all/most/more of CoTech

BP

Ben Philp Thu 22 Apr

Some interesting points above and if I could make it I would be happy to pay for a ticket to cover costs. Is there e minimum amount of members needed to make it work? (eg how many people would be attending for the full £1500 being required?)

Also out of interest how many paying members are there in CoTech vs paying members? Maybe non contributing members could contribute more giving a incentive for CoTech members to contribute? Just an idea but don't want to complicate it.

LK

Lucy King Thu 22 Apr

Thanks for your input Ben! 🙏 I think for simplicity and for the ease of the booking form, I'll leave it as is. I'd worry that if a co-op is not contributing to the fund, it might be because they don't feel massively financially secure - so they're kinda the people we most want to be able to support attending! If we say tickets will likely be around £40, we'd need 38 people to cover the whole cost. Not totally sure about how many contributing members there are.

AC

Autonomic Co-operative Tue 27 Apr

Thank you! We'll be no doubt changing our block to a different votes asap before Friday.

CCC

Sorry for the late notice but there is a CoTech monthly circle call today at 4pm, see the agenda, it would be great if the co-ops with concerns about funding this event, @Nick Greenhill (Co-op Web) and the co-op currently blocking the proposal, @Autonomic Co-operative are able to attend so questions and concerns can be discussed.

AC

Autonomic Co-operative Wed 28 Apr

Hi folks,

Was there a vote on whether we should have a summer gathering? I'm not sure a poll on the forum counts as a vote by all members of CoTech.

We would vote against having the summer gathering. I'm just not sure the risks outweigh the potential benefits in the view of Autonomic members.

We love hanging out with y'all and talking shop but the travelling across the country and hanging out together for semi-work stuff just doesn't seem worth it for us this year with all the stress of the pandemic.

We don't feel strongly enough to block if folks push ahead with the gathering to attend but members from our co-op don't seem to want to attend this time.

ALP

Sorry for being late to the commentary on this - we have been aware of the dialogue, and the view from us is a bit mixed tbh.

Firstly, the gatherings often seem to fall in school holidays which often permits working parents from attending, or at least attending fully which is particularly the case within DOT PROJECT.

Secondly, agree around the context of covid at the moment - we have people within our coop either with covid or other complexities that means contemplating larger gatherings right now is not a simple decision to make. It seems closer to the end of the year may hopefully be more feasible.

We are all for gatherings and meetups and growing the amazing connection to other coops, and definitely envisage DP being able to participate more in the future, however we don't feel this is the best use of the funds at this stage given the above reasons.

If this does go ahead, at least one of us may be able to attend one day, but we can't commit to more at this stage sadly. So abstaining from this vote.

CCC

On this point:

the gatherings often seem to fall in school holidays

I agree that this would best be avoided, but as far as I recall this is the first proposed CoTech event to do so (but perhaps I'm wrong?) and for this the date isn't of our choosing, I expect it was agreed by the Workers Co-op Council and Selgar's Mill, perhaps @Sion Whellens (Principle Six/Calverts) can clarify?

SWS

Correct, Chris. One advantage of Selgar's is that there are all-day nursery and play centres close by.

AC

Animorph Co-op Fri 30 Apr

In the spirit of sociocracy, we would like to ask Outlandish, who blocked the proposal, to suggest an alternative way of proceeding with organising a gathering that addresses their critical concerns.

P

PollyRobbinsOutlandish Fri 30 Apr

Just to add one more thing to Harry's comments. Another reason (for me at least) is that I believe that quite a lot of legwork needs to be put in to CoTech gatherings. There is a fair bit of calling coops, encouraging them to come, making them actually book, asking them what they want to discuss/get from the weekend etc, getting them to run sessions etc. Without someone doing these things I suspect that turnout will be low, and whilst it might be nice to have a get-together, it's unlikely that much productive work will be done. Sorry @Animorph Co-op I know this isn't a new proposal, I will discuss with the gang next week.

SWS

Assuming the proposal is lost, the extra day (22-23 July) at Selgars Mill will imo probably anyway, even if it has to be underwritten differently. It will be an opportunity to have cross-cutting and strategic conversations ahead of Worker Coop Weekend, among people from CoTech, Solidfund, possibly Young Co-operators Network and others. One kite that got flown in the Worker Coop Day sessions yesterday was a new/revived independent worker co-op federation, and/or development effort. That would throw into focus the relationship between different already-existing worker co-op networks and projects. As @Chris Croome (Webarchitects Co-operative) noted, his co-op already subscribes to four - CoTech, Co-ops UK, Solidfund and Radical Routes...

CCC

@Sion Whellens (Principle Six/Calverts) wrote:

Assuming the proposal is lost

I don't think we need to assume that, the CoTech Constitution is clear, it contains:

the proposal passes if there are no 'disagree' or 'block' votes

So it has not passed, because Autonomic disagreed and Outlandish blocked the proposal.

However I hope you do manage to negotiate an extra day at Selgars Mill in any case, I'd be happy to attend and join in the discussions regarding "a new/revived independent worker co-op federation, and/or development effort".

SWS

I know the rules, just hadn't spotted voting was closed when I posted that - and always time for a member to change their view, right? :)

SWS

An extra day for fringe/pre events at Selgars Mill is going ahead - it has been underwritten by Worker co-op Solidarity Fund. So there's the opportunity for a CoTech unofficial klatsch, for anyone who can make a beautiful spot an hour south of Bristol during school holidays. Also, Solidfund has agreed to fund up to £1,500 in bursaries of up to £150 per person for anyone wanting financial support to go for any or all of the events - either SF members, or people nominated by SF members. The bursaries would be paid as a reimbursement on receipted travel/ticket costs. Email Solidfund for more info.

The booking form for WCW and the warmup day is live here.

If you want to propose sessions/timings or help co-design the fun and games, you can dive in here.