How we organise: Working Groups

Stirchley Co-operative Development will be owned and managed by the people that live here and the businesses that operate from the ground floor. Each housed person and each business is one member and is entitled to one vote on important issues. The majority of activity and decisions will be formed and carried out in our working groups and these activities then feedback to our monthly meetings.

There are lots of different tasks that are required for the successful running of a development of this size and so the work has been broken down into defined categories which are given the name “working groups”. There’s no limit to the number of working groups that can exist, but it’s simpler to mange if there are fewer, broader groups. Some groups may only need to exist for a short period of time if there’s a time specific project. Whereas others are integral to the day-to-day running of the building both today and into the future.

Co-operative members (as listed above) are expected to volunteer some time to support one or more working group and it’s useful to choose a working group that aligns with your skills or interests.

Below are a list of all the current working groups and the types of activities they cover.

Upstairs Working Group (WG): The upstairs working group deals mainly with issues and systems for the residents’ flats and communal spaces upstairs in the development. Initially these will include the design choices for residents’ flats (such as interiors, paint and kitchens)

Tech WG: This group maintains and develops the emails, website and could also do things in future around networks in the physical building and the internet provision. It might also look at the database used by the membership working group and has worked on the file system we use.

Outdoor spaces WG: The outdoor spaces working group is responsible for making decisions that affect the ground floor garden space, the bike shed structure, the roof garden and, to a lesser extent, the building façade. The group has been involved the design of these spaces including planting plans, positions of power and water points and the types of furniture and other amenities in the space. Once the building is complete the Outdoor spaces working group will collectively maintain these spaces.

Publicity WG: The publicity working group looks after all of the outgoing marketing of the co-operative as well as updating and responding to questions on the social media channels. The publicity group may produce flyers and posters for events or activities as well as working on a long-term documentary video project. Any new members could expect to edit copy or produce images for digital or print and attend events where speakers from the co-operative are invited. The publicity working group has crossover with many other working groups including: tech, membership and governance.

Membership WG: This group deals with the application process, for integrating new members into our co-op, and for ongoing member support.

Energy WG:We will have a large solar array installed on the roof and individual air source heat pumps for each unit. This working group will be focussed around these pieces of infrastructure and how we use them collectively as a group. So far meetings have been around planning though this may develop as the property moves towards completion.

Worker Co-ops (Downstairs) WG: The worker co-ops or downstairs working group is made up of the three worker co-op members: Artefact, Loaf and Birmingham Bike Foundry and members meet to discuss issues that affect the businesses and premises of the three. Members may use this working group to organise to support the establishment of other worker co-ops in the area.

Governance WG: The governance working group is responsible for creating and updating policy documents and for steering the co-operative toward its aims and objectives.

And more..

The working group system has room for expansion, and the current team who have been part of developing SCD envisage that the current listing of groups above will expand and grow as we welcome our new residential members over the course of the year before the build is completed. The eventual format of the working groups may be larger than what is outlined above, and may include sub groups – for instance composting might end up being its own mini operation and a sub-working group of the outdoor WG. Likewise there is potential in the building for things such as a food buying group to collectively order produce, and using the communal kitchen for regular communal meals.