Now the boring legal stuff. In order to be quorate and agree on things we had to have 25% of the membership present which we did so all items voted on have now been added to our rules and this blog is public record of the notes made. As Company Secretary (I'm Ange for those that don't know) I chaired the meeting and as per our rules we were legally obliged to follow the agenda which had been posted out to members in advance. Phwew, boring stuff covered now for what we chuntered about!
We had a quick round robin of introductions and it really did show what an amazing range of talent and skill sets we have in our members, apologies had been received from some via emails which people are welcome to see but because of data protection I don't really want to put full names on a public blog.
Resolutions requiring a vote: we asked that the membership allow us to add a category of Volunteer Membership for £1 to allow those kind enough to offer their time to be properly involved and supported. 19 votes in favour, no abstentions and no against which allowed the resolution to be passed.
Second change: we asked the membership to allow us to pro rata the payment of membership. Membership is payable yearly and runs from April to March which we recognised wasn't completely fair or enticing for those wishing to join mid year. Some members mentioned that they had thought that membership ran for a year from when they joined and the website and paperwork will be amended to make it much clearer about the dates. 19 votes in favour, no abstentions and no against which allowed the resolution to be passed.
Shop update: we have been given a provisional date of the first week of October to open the new shop and we are in contact with the Mander Centre on a regular basis to get a firm date and will advise members as soon as we know for defininte. There was some discussion about could we stay in our current unit if the new one isn't ready or is there a plan B as some are justifiably concerned that too much of a delay may cause problems on the run up to Christmas shopping and being able to advertise effectively. As a Board we are happy to look at all alternatives and investigate possible cunning plans to make sure we are open and trading again as quickly as possible and if members have suggestions or spot empty buildings around the City we will contact them. Sadly Sainsbury refused to let us use their now empty church building but don't ask, don't get!
Big project update: We have been offered a building that we could use for production, teaching and all sorts of other activities to promote the co-op and are keen to get moving on it. Having a shop is great and a fabulous point of contact but larger scale activities is what's going to really put us on the map, both as individual makers and as a group. There was a question regarding how to pay for this and we are talking with various members to work on an Arts Council England bid as such a large project will require capital funding to get us started. A member mentioned that local businesses are often happy to support local groups and will try and get the list for us (assuming his wife doesn't tell him off!!).
One member asked how did we 'sell' Bootstrap to potential partners as sometimes it didn't feel clear if we were a group of businesses or community group. We accept that sometimes the message isn't clear and that it does need working on. We have many angles we can use such as we support local makers, we work with schools and we are hopefully helping towards the economic regeneration of the area but it was widely accepted that a clearer message could be developed by using a punchy strap line. We had anticipated sending out a survey to all members to clarify this type of thing but the results had not been received back to share at the meeting. An offer of organisastional development was made by a member which we will gladly be taking up and would like to say thank you for the offer.
New Directors: we received nominations from two members wishing to join the Board. We are allowed up to 11 Board Directors so the addition of two takes us up to 7 and would like to welcome Paul and Mike who both received full backing from the members in the room. Again, because of data protection and this being a public blog there will be a page added to the website later where you can find out about our Board rather than going into detail on here.
Any other business: members (especially producers) were reminded to send information regarding events and activities in good time for the newsletter - I will be emailing everyone later with those contact details.
Directors thanked the membership for all the hard work in keeping the current shop running and stressed the importance of making sure that in the new shop because it's much bigger we will need at least two if not three people on duty most days, and we will be coming up to Christmas and would like to see the shop open much more in the future. It was mentioned that normally shops within centres are contractually obliged to be open when the centre is and we have been fortunate not to have this pressed on us but also by being open more days it gives everyone a chance to get more involved.
A question was raised as to do people miss out on information if they are not on facebook as we use that quite a lot, Members were advised that anything of a serious/important nature would always be sent to them via email to make sure they get it. We are trying to investigate setting up a forum that everyone can use but sadly we will never catch everyone whichever system we choose to use. For those that are on facebook if you haven't already done so please send a friend request to Bootstap Artist which means we can invite you to events and members' pages.
We will also be seeking members to get involved in smaller sub groups that have a specific focus for example the shop or the proposed arts centre - just to share the workload and allow members to get more involved without having to formally join the Board. If you have an interest in getting inovlved then please let us know, thank you to those that put their hat in the ring on Sunday and that's it you are now on the radar and refusal later is not an option!
Again, thank you to everyone that came along and contributed on Sunday - it really is appreciated, and as a member organisation witout you we really can't function! Thanks for reading this, sorry it was so long but as the formal record of an EGM we had to put a lot of words in it. See you all soon, and hopefully it won't be too long before we can say we're open again :)