No. 9 – 22nd May 2013

Eco-Hamlets UK Social Enterprise

We are making great progress with starting the social enterprise, and aim to complete the forms to register it on 1st June, by which time we will have decided what legal form it will take. We had a very productive meeting on 11th/12th May, and our next meeting is on 26th May. Notes of the recent meeting are online at http://tinyurl.com/bnw5c93.

We want to give as many people as possible a chance to comment on our plans, and also ask for help with various tasks we need to undertake, so it was agreed at the meeting that we would send out the Newsletter more frequently for a while. We won’t send more than one per week, but will send one whenever we need some help or would like comments on something we have done. Once we’re up and running, we will probably return to just one a month.

We would appreciate it if you read the notes from the meeting, and if you haven’t already, the draft proposal for the social enterprise, and added comments and suggestions. If you have useful skills or knowledge in any area covered, we would appreciate your help, however much or little you can give. Every bit helps us to help you achieve your aims.

Although most activity at the moment is in West Wales, we have an enthusiastic new member of the team who is involved with housing projects in North East England and Cumbria, and someone in South West England who is keen to make things happen there. We also have a volunteer in Northern Ireland who will be helping with our web site, and sees much potential for Eco-Hamlets there. So we will be a UK wide organisation right from the launch of the social enterprise.

Help Needed

In this first of the temporarily more frequent Newsletters, we would appreciate help with the following:

Definition of an Eco-Hamlet – We need a definition of what an Eco-Hamlet is, so we can decide if a project we get involved in meets the criteria. Please read the notes in the meeting report, and the text at the bottom of the meeting report page, and add your comments and suggestions. We have a professional writer who has volunteered to help us to produce the final document.

Community Interest Company – We haven’t decided on the legal structure we will use yet, although it is most likely to be a Community Interest Company (CIC). A CIC isn’t allowed to engage in political activity, but there may be a need to campaign for changes to planning law or building regulations, or the interpretation of them. If you have experience of setting up a CIC, and especially this area, we would appreciate some help or advice.

Funding - The aim is to finance our work mostly through trading with businesses related to creating Eco-Hamlets, but in the early stages we need to raise money from other sources. We would appreciate help from anyone with experience of grant applications, crowd funding, share issues by CICs, or any other sources that may help.

Working Group Meeting – 26th May

The next meeting of the group working to set up the social enterprise is this Sunday, near Newcastle Emlyn in West Wales. If you would like to attend, please let us know. We have a Google Group for keeping in touch with members of the group who can’t attend, and could organise meetings in other areas if necessary. Eventually we will do much of our work through video and tele conferencing, using systems like Skype, so distance is no object if you would like to be involved.

Cardigan Green Fair – 25th May

We have a stall at Cardigan Green Fair in West Wales this Saturday from 10am to 5pm. If you are in the area, come along for a chat, or to help out.

We have had a stall at a number of events, and it’s a good way to meet people and attract new members. Once the social enterprise is established, it would be great to be at similar events all over the UK, so if you are involved in organising one and would like us to attend, please let us know. We will need some volunteers to run stalls, and ideally obtain some funding to help with expenses, so help with this would be appreciated.

Finally

We’re getting there slowly, and looking forward to the time when the Newsletter is full of Eco-Hamlet projects, rather than this boring organisational stuff!!!