Meetings/2016-06-29

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Held 8pm, 29 June 2016 in the Black Swan

Agenda

  1. Funding of the Space[1]
    • Actual costs to cover
    • Acceptable membership fee
    • Student membership structure
    • Rollup in case of failure
    • Admin fee on the Space
    • “Buffer” fund
    • Open to corporate sponsorship?
  2. Formalization of the HackSpace
    • Limited Company ? Non-profit? Board members ?
    - Company by Guarantee[2]
    - Social Enterprise[3]
    • Insurance
    • Members and Directors
  3. Membership drive
    • Methods
    - Mailing local user list
    - Social media ( Both calls out for member and generally cool stuff )
    - Proper definition of what we offer on the website.
    - Talk to YUSU, relevent student societities, etc?
    - York Press / Mixit / One & Other
    - Local Events
    • Achievable membership numbers
    • Time commitments
    • What equipment do we need to kit out the new space?[4]
  4. Inclusivity
    • Part of the Constitution.
  5. Constitution
    • Rights / privileges of members
    • Voting
    • Openness
  6. Go/No Go

Attachments

  1. Draft membership structure
  2. http://www.ukplc.com/company-types/specialist-uk-company/not-for-profit-company.htm
  3. https://www.gov.uk/set-up-a-social-enterprise
  4. Equipment people would be willing to lend or donate

Minutes

In attendance:

  • Nick Moriarty
  • Bob Stone
  • Luke McCullagh
  • Gavin Atkinson
  • Christine Farion
  • David Court
  • John Cooper
  • Liam Wilson
  • Næþ’n Lasseter

The Space

The current occupants leave the unit shortly. Paul (our contact at the council) is happy for a number of people to sign up for the space jointly, and they will credit reference some of those people. This won’t attract any additional fees.

Paul seems happy with who we are and what we do, as are the other tenants in the building.

No VAT will be charged on the rent or admin fees. Our fees include the heating and building maintenance. There might be a separate charge for rates if they're applicable to us. This is not currently clear. Electricity is metered for the unit individually and we’d be billed for what we use. There is a choice of two 300 ft² units. We think we’d have a preference for not-the-hot-sunny-room as we don’t believe there’s air con (for the summer), and heating is included in our monthly fee (for the winter). We need to check whether we’re liable for rates.

There’s a building alarm using a fob system. Each room has an individual fob. There are a few doors to get through to get into the space. The front door tends to be left open. We need to check how many fobs we get and how much they cost when we need more.

For membership, £58 was agreed a reasonable starting point for founding members. This assumed 7 members founding. We have agreed to round this up to £60. The seven founding members are:

  • Gavin Atkinson
  • John Cooper
  • David Court
  • Næþ’n Lasseter
  • Luke McCullagh
  • Nick Moriarty
  • Bob Stone

For students, we may offer both monthly and termly options. This should help to attract people as it’s flexible to their needs.

We should consider an introductory membership. There should probably be a rough framework so we know what to charge people. We can still run open nights either free or with “suggested donation” which might be optional; this can help to cover materials etc.

We may allow new starters to join without getting a key, perhaps with a discount. This also potentially gives us a good chance to make sure people know what they’re doing, and we get to know them a little before we give them keys.

One of the main benefits of membership will be to allow people to come to the space when they like.

We should agree some form of “introductory” scheme, which should cover how we get members in, how open nights are paid for, etc.

We should review membership fees once we have “enough” members. Suggest this should be done on at least a quarterly basis. We should eventually aim to get the fees down towards £25.

In terms of rollup if we can’t support the space any more, we need to be prepared to pay the 3-month notice period. While we don’t expect there to be a problem with membership immediately, we need to accept this risk.

We won’t have a buffer fund particularly soon (and certainly not immediately). Everyone agreed they would be prepared to pay for 3 months (the notice period).

We will maintain a group of “founders” who will form a committee. Roles can rotate as and when people want to stop doing committee work.

We won’t rule out corporate sponsorship. We will address any offers as and when we receive / seek them. We do have figures for web traffic if required. Some sponsors are more interested in the good PR from being able to say they back a Hackspace as opposed to actual ad traffic, etc.

The administration fee for the new space is £500. Luke asked about haggling on this, but it doesn’t seem to be movable. We currently have £140 in the bank. That leaves £360 to pay.

  • Luke suggested he could put £150 toward this
  • Dividing the remainder by 7 founders leaves £30 each to pay on top of the first month’s membership fee.

Internet connection is still an unknown. We hope to barter with the Wireless guys to share resources. Næþ’n suggested A&A have done free internet connection for hack spaces elsewhere.

We may want to consider buying some furniture; like lockers to keep stuff safe.

Formalization

Some people have a basic understanding of the alternatives, and some know folk who might have useful knowledge here. Hackspace.org.uk suggests company limited by guarantee. Dan suggested “social enterprise”; we should ask people about why to do, or not do, this.

Paul suggested the council won’t be happy for a new organization to sign the contract for the space (it won’t cut the mustard for the credit checks). We might want to look at transferring the contract for the space to this in future to remove liability on the founding members.

JMC and GA will investigate the options available in terms of “what we are”

We probably want PL insurance if we have a space. Hackspace.org.uk suggest a template policy which we should look into. It’s likely we need to get PL insurance to protect individuals from any liability which might arise.

We probably don’t every committee member to be a “director” of the company. The number of founders (around 10) forming the “committee” seems reasonable; we can revisit this if necessary. We should probably define some committee roles rather than having a free-for-all, and consider elections of the committee. The directors are likely to be “in name only”, but are likely to need to be signatories on the accounts.

There are people who are willing to take on the committee roles.

It is suggested that the “original” members (those who have seen the Hackspace through from its original inception) should be in some way “special”.

Suggested positions were:

  • Luke, Dan, Gavin - Chair / Vice-chair
  • Nick - secretary
  • Næþ’n - treasurer (for now)
  • Christine - something to do with recruitment, induction etc
  • David - general stuff
  • Christine (possible with Dan) - PR / social media

Membership Drive

We should send an actual e-mail shot to our list members (not just as a list topic) to try to drum up support. We should explain what we’ve got, how much we need to charge, what we hope to do etc.

We should detail the above on the website, too (on the WP site, not on the Wiki).

Action as detailed above

We might see if LocalLink can carry us. York Press may run a story if we give them one. The campus newspapers might also be a useful resource to get a message out. Can we get a freshers’ fair stall (at UoY and YSJ)? Can we target people like student societies, gamers, game developers etc?

We should keep track of who is doing communications (to avoid crossover - it might look a little muddled or unprofessional if two people contact the same place separately); we might use a private Wiki page for tracking this.

We need to do more with PR and social media. We do quite well for “incidental” PR, but we don’t generally flag-wave so much (e.g. when stuff hits magazines).

We need to overhaul *all* of our online presence as there’s a lot of cruft and out-of-date information - this includes the Wiki.

We probably need to run more workshops.

In terms of membership, we might get 3-4 new members directly through people who know us. We’re guessing we can get a few more beyond this. We need to draw attention on the mailing list to find out how many people on there would want to join. We need to think about maximum numbers that we can fit in the space, too. This is likely to be 10 or 12 people all in at once. For open nights, we should be able to “manage”; we probably can’t support all of these people hacking their own projects at once though.

Workshops could be a couple of times a month, e.g. one Thursday, every other Thursday etc. David suggested the educational materials around things like Raspberry Pi, Arduino etc, might provide a useful source of workshop ideas. We could also look at getting other people in to do the workshops (i.e. we provide them the space).

If workshops are too onerous for individuals to set up, perhaps we can set up workshops in pairs or groups, as needed, and just ask where we need demonstrators, etc. We should keep a list of “workshop requests” and pick things off this as we can. We should also check the details about subletting (if it counts as that) to other people to (for example) teach in our space, either for free or for a contribution to our costs.

Christine has a projector which she may be able to donate to the space, which would be useful for running Workshops and the like.

In terms of benches, furniture, etc, we should get in there and check what we think we need, and throw together what we can. We want a laser cutter when the time comes. We might be able to pick up another space’s offcast laser cutter when they upgrade, if we keep an eye out. Næþ’n suggested he might be willing to front up money to help pay for a cutter and be paid back over time. We'll look into whether equipment (or money to pay for it) may be loaned from anywhere.

Luke is likely to be bringing a full set of PCB developing gear.

We might want to think about fume / dust extraction at some stage, especially if we’re running a cutter or grinders.

Inclusivity

We will seek to foster an inclusive community.

Young people: under 18s need to come with a responsible person. We can’t deal with children because of the requirements around child protection (DBS requirements).

While some 16-17yos may be sensible and mature enough to be part of the community, there are complications because of the supervision requirements. We may be able to allow them in with a suitable member who is willing to take responsibility for them, but there may be PL issues or other legalities which would need examining first.

We should deal with people in unfortunate financial circumstances on a case-by-case basis; this should be part of the committee’s responsibilities.

We should retain a right to reject people in the case that we deem them unsuitable to be part of the community, by way of a committee vote. This should be made clear to members, and shouldn’t be exercised at random, but where there is a genuine issue which cannot be resolved. The committee is large enough that discussions and a vote should guarantee fairness.

Constitution

We should look at constitutions for several other Hackspaces (and their membership contracts)

All members should be able to view the minutes of meetings. We should consider making some of it publicly viewable. We may need to redact details of sensitive matters.

Committee meetings should be open to members if they want to attend. In the case of committee-only votes, members attending won’t be able to vote. There will separately be a method of voting for matters where all members are consulted.

All votes must have a minimum turnout; they will be a simple vote requiring either a majority, consensus or similar. While most simple committee votes can be taken by show-of-hands (allowing proxy/e-mail votes where appropriate), there may be circumstances in which ballots should be secret.

Næþ’n suggested instant-runoff voting for something.

A vote was held on whether to go ahead with the new space in Fulford. A consensus in favour was achieved.

AOB

We have been asked on Twitter by someone quite interesting in relation to Hackspaces to come and meet us. Saturday 2nd July.

We discussed first aid at the space. It was suggested that we should at least have a first aid kit. There may be one in the communal area. We may wish to see if we can do first aid training at some point; for multiple people this may be relatively cost-effective. The space should have information displayed somewhere with first aid information. Makespace just has a poster on the wall that says to report injuries and call 999 in the case of an emergency. Luke has a first aid qualification and would be happy for his number to be on such a poster.

We should carry out nomination / voting for the committee to make sure we have all the necessary positions filled, and that the people in them are happy.

Committee members should adjust their membership fee to £60/mo and send £30 to cover the admin fee.