15 February 2014 – minutes
21 present: Isis, Amanda, Peter, Linnea, Susan C, Mark, Sami, Patricia, Debbie, Cath, Susan S, Rico, Yula, Sawsan, C, Stuart, Anne, Sophie, Rupesh, Dashty, Matilda. Facilitated by Isis, Sami and C.
The proposals were circulated via the members’ email list 4 February. At the start of the meeting each Working Group had an hour to discuss their proposals in small groups with other members. Some of the proposals were slightly amended as a result of these discussions. Then we came together as a group to agree the final proposals. This took more time than we had allowed for, so at the end of the day we only had time to discuss regionalisation (and not the other topics due to be decided on in Manchester).
- Pursue media coverage in sympathetic national publications, grassroots media as described in the proposal.
- Produce short 30 second film to get across the values of Edge.
- Produce slightly longer 5-10 minute film to go more into depth about groups we fund.
- Produce podcasts to be used on website, community radio etc
- Printing cards (one batch already done), A5 leaflet with standing order form
- General communication notes (relating to participation and inclusivity) apply across Edge, not just a communications group responsibility.
- Budget agreed: maximum of £2,000 over one year for films, podcasts and printed materials
- Concerns/ comments: We should also encourage groups to film and upload more ‘gritty’ videos taken with mobiles etc. Should also talk to fundraising group about potentially raising more funds to support communications work. Who is the audience for the videos? There was also a suggestion about getting coverage in right-wing press (controversy helps get the word out), although some had concerns about this.
In addition to Members Handbook that we provide already, agreed that we will:
- Call new members to find out their main interests (to help them prioritise their time if limited), skills (so we can build skills database to refer to when for eg a facilitator is needed for a meeting) and preferences/ requirements around communications and participation. We’ll also need to do this with existing members.
- Buddy new members with longer-term members, try to buddy up with people from same movement/ with something in common.
- Any member can organise social events if there is interest in this to help induct new members.
- No budget requested.
- Pilot 3 Radical Sharing Forums over a year for groups to report back on funding and to share what they’ve learned, explore collaborations, share skills etc, on the assumption that if first one is not a success it won’t continue.
- Will try to raise funds for this separately (will speak to fundraising group)
- Budget agreed: £2,000 maximum for a year (aim to use internal facilitators)
- Concerns/ comments: Some concerns about funds and energy needed to make this happen, will people go to the meeting without the incentive of funding being offered on the day? Since groups and members will be together for the day, we should use the opportunity to film them for communcations work.
- Work with communications group to raise profile of Edge.
- Build up monthly donors, use targets (e.g. 50 monthly donors in one month)
- Approach foundations (maybe unions, co-ops, legal firms) for funding of operating costs (co-ordinator salary, meeting costs etc)
- Members with connections to wealthy individuals to help promote Edge in those circles.
- No budget requested.
- Concerns/ comments: Ok to accept donation from celebrities/ high profile people but concern raised by many people about how this might be promoted, celebrities can often be problematic because of their behaviour or stance on things which may then affect Edge’s reputation. Also, it’s contrary to our values; we’re not about power and celebrity. Likewise, donors should get newsletter and invited to Radical Sharing Forum, but not have special treatment particularly.
Fundraising Group flipchart not available.
A reminder from the Facilitating Group about Working Groups: all Working Groups need a two sentence description of their remit so people can better understand what they do and a contact person who is responsible for communicating with the rest of Edge (ideally in the Facilitating Group) with an email address and/or phone number that any member can contact them on.
Change in application questions.
Agreed Facilitating Group will work this out.
There was also a comment that perhaps we should have less focus on funding very small groups.
All other amendments to questions ok.
Change in member application questions.
On Q3, people tended towards the “Which approaches and tactics do you feel are most effective in bringing about a just and equal world?” version of the question.
Some people felt that Q3 would bring out very similar information to Q4 anyway.
Agreed Facilitating Group will work on Q3 and Q4, possibly a combine the two.
All other amendments to questions ok.
Facilitating Group flipchart
Discussion about regionalisation
Edge started off in London and as a result most of our members are London-based. We want to have members from across Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England; how can we ensure they are all able to take part and make decisions?
- Technology seems to be a good way to help regionalise Edge. There are issues around how inclusive this is since not everyone has a computer or internet at home but perhaps there are some creative solutions to this?
- The Equalities Act includes guidance about making ‘reasonable adjustments’ to allow people to participate. This is something we need to think about, particularly relating to socio-economic backgrounds and historical oppression. Funds should be put aside to make this possible.
- Important to talk to people about regionalisation who are outside London, but also outside Manchester. Would be good to get more feedback from members on this issue.
- Could we have different Working Groups in different towns? Facilitating Group in Manchester, Fundraising Group in Bristol etc, and then move them around?
- We should map where all our members are. Also would be good to do with funded groups.
- Would it make sense for the Manchester group to take on regionalisation as a task? Perhaps set up a Working Group to figure it out?
- Trust is important, all agreed that we need to let go and trust other members to make the right decisions.
- Whatever we decide to try in regards to regionalisation, we need to make sure it is functional and effective. This also relates to wider decision-making. Are we clear about how we make decisions as a group? Are our decisions permanent? What happens if a Manchester meeting makes a decision that contradicts a decision made in London?
Discussion about member skills
We discussed the importance of organising workshops to build skills and understanding in 3 areas: facilitation of meetings, diversity/ privilege and how we create change. The first two relate directly to that fact that we do not want to reproduce the inequalities in society that we aim to end; for example, we don’t want to give more power to more privileged Edge members by having them facilitate all the time or allowing them to be dominant voices in discussions and decisions. We would aim to organise these workshops using the skills of Edge members where possible.