Several mutual aid groups have been set up across Sussex to build local support networks during the Covid-19 pandemic and (hopefully) beyond! All the groups can be found on this map – they include Brighton & Hove, Eastbourne, Worthing and many many more! Many places are split into smaller areas so people can connect with people nearest to them.
There are now thousands of local groups across the country. Find out more, including how to set up a group in your area here: covidmutualaid.org
For those in co-ops and other community businesses, there is also a UK-wide Community Business Mutual Aid group. They are holding weekly Zoom calls on Tuesdays at 11.30am to discuss issues and share best practice. Calls are split into ‘breakout rooms’ covering specific themes. Find out more here: cbmutualaid.co.uk
Want to connect with more co-operators in Brighton & Hove? Is your co-op grappling with a problem? Join Co-operatives UK for this Co-op Connections event in Brighton on Tuesday, 9 July 2019 – 5:30pm to 7:30pm at Infinity Foods Kitchen, 50 Gardner Street, BN1 1UN.
Members of co-ops and societies from across the city will be getting together to connect and learn from each other. It is a good opportunity to meet other like-minded people.
Be the fresh eyes that help colleagues or fellow members break through challenges. Attendees can come prepared with a challenge or an issue they’re willing to share. In return you’ll benefit from dedicated time on this work issue that’s handled sensitively by unbiased peers. The aim is to leave with a new or clearer understanding of potential next steps. Alternatively members can just come and hang out with others who are inspired to ‘do work together’.
Find out more and book your place for this free event here. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or a particular discussion point worth sharing.
Can we replace the current economic system of exploitation, exclusion and the destruction of the environment with an alternative that’s built on equity, cooperation, worker democracy, and environmental sustainability? That’s what Cooperation Jackson are trying to do in Jackson, Mississippi.
Sacajawea “Saki” Hall and Kali Akuno – two of the founders of this radical cooperative network – are coming to Brighton on Friday 24 May as part of a tour of the UK. They will talk about the Cooperation Jackson story and what they’ve learned along the way about transforming their community and building a local economy based on solidarity, not profit.
Cooperatives are owned and run by their members. Cooperation Jackson includes of a federation of emerging local worker cooperatives, a cooperative education and training centre, a cooperative bank, and a Community Land Trust (CLT). They run people’s assemblies as a way to revitalise local democracy.
Cooperation Jackson draws on the long history of black-led cooperatives and community collectives in Mississippi, as well as the organising of the Black Power movement era. They see self-organisation as key to improving the quality of life for working class people in one of the poorest cities in the US, and want to politicise cooperatives and infuse them with class consciousness.
“When marginalized and excluded workers and communities are organized in democratic organizations and social movements they become a force capable of making transformative social advances….” Co-operation Jackson.
This event will take place on Friday 24 May 2019 from 5.45pm until 7.45pm in the Lecture Room at the Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AF. The talk will begin at 6.00pm. Book your place here.
Kali Akuno was in the political administration of the late Chokwe Lumumba, the first Black mayor of Jackson, elected in 2013. Find out more about him and Cooperation Jackson in this interview in STIR To Action.
The venue is wheelchair accesible and located in central Brighton.
Sail Boat Project is a Workers’ Co-operative aiming to widen access to the sea and working towards zero emission transport for their products. On Wednesday 1 May, from 7pm there will be a chance to try and buy some of them at Brighton Sailing Club.
There will be organic olive oils, whole olives, sea salt and a selection of Portuguese wines from the Douro region, all brought to our shores by the power of wind.
You can also hear from Sail Boat’s partners Xisto Wines and New Dawn Traders, as well as find out more about the story of this local worker co-op and how it works.
Sail cargo in a nutshell: Olives grown grown by the Reigado family in Portugal, found by olive sommeliers Passeite, brokered by New Dawn Traders, shipped to Torbay by Fairtransport via the French Isle of Noirmoutier to collect Fleur de Sel, all loaded aboard Sail Boat’s Jalapeno with amazing Xisto wines and sailed to Brighton and Newhaven for collection onboard or delivery to your door Zedify cycle couriers. Also available with your veg box from Barcombe Nurseries.
All surplus from the Sail Cargo work goes to Sail Boat’s Community Sailing Fund, established to help people from community groups in Sussex access their sailing activities.
The event takes place on Wednesday 1 May 2019, 7.00-10.00pm at Brighton Sailing Club, 109-111 Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2FN. There will be some food. Please book your free place here.
Running a co-operative, social enterprise or community group and looking for tips on raising your profile or getting more people involved?
Join us on Monday 19 November to hear local co-operators share their experiences and what they have learned about social media, getting more members/volunteers and marketing on a budget.
Book a free ticket here https://promotion-workshop.eventbrite.co.uk
Lisa Hartley from SEASALT Housing Co-operative (South EAst Students Autonomously living together)
Dhara Thompson from the Sail Boat Project, a Brighton based Workers’ Co-operative which provides aims to widen access to the sea, offering sail training to individuals and community groups. They are also involved in sail transport of cargo.
At Mutual Aid In Sussex (MAIS) we like to encourage co-operation and mutual support among co-operatives and community focused organisations. So, after we have heard from the speakers there will be the chance for all of us to share our promotion tips and challenges with each other.
There will be time for questions and getting to know each other.
Some of us will go to the pub afterwards, please join us! Continue reading
Nawal Slemiah co-founded the Women In Hebron co-operative in 2005 in the West Bank, Palestine. It began by selling handicrafts in the Old City market of Hebron – an area which is under Israeli military control. Nawal will be speaking in Brighton on Tuesday 23 October to tell the story of the co-operative and what it is like to operate under the Israeli Occupation.
The co-operative now has more than 150 women producing items sold across the Hebron district. The co-op is part of the Idna Cooperative Association for Embroidery and Handicrafts which has been able to open a small community centre in Idna, a town in the Hebron district. Here members of the association can gather together to do their work and socialise.
From the co-operative’s website: “Our work is based on the idea that developing Palestinian handicrafts is more than just an income-generating project. It is in of itself an act of community-strengthening, of honoring the role of women in our society, and a means to show sumud – steadfastness – in the face of the occupation of Palestine and the harm it has done to the people of Hebron.”
Nawal will be bringing some of the goods produced by Women In Hebron and they will be available to buy at the event.
As part of Co-operatives Fortnight 2018 Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) are organising a tour of local housing co-ops on Saturday 30 June, each with its own story. This is a chance to see some of the ways more genuinely affordable and co-operative housing has been created in the city.
The Big Lemon will be driving people between the housing co-ops in a minibus. There will be two tours on the day, one at 9.00am (bus leaves at 9.15am) and one at 12.45pm (bus leaves at 1pm). Each tour is approximately 4 hours long.
Tour 1 (morning) will call at Rosa Bridge, Hornbeam, Bug and Two Piers.
Tour 2 (afternoon) will call at Rosa Bridge, Dryad, Brighton Rock and Two Piers.
More information on all the co-ops, and practical information on the tour and accessibility, can be found here on the BHCLT website.
Co-operation among co-operatives is the sixth of seven principles which help co-operatives put their values into practice. They can be followed by any community minded organisation, whether they are formally a co-op or not.
Put Principle 6 into action and join us for a meeting and social get together between 6-9pm on Wednesday 6th June in the cafe of the Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD. Free food will be provided.
The event is FREE but please register via eventbrite so we can keep track of numbers.
There will be a chance to introduce yourself, your project or business and ask for any advice or support you might want from others, as well as see where you can help others out. Anything can be asked for – whether it’s a computer, the number of a good plumber, advice on taxes or anything else.
We will also hear briefly about the results of the MAIS/Co-ops South East survey, including what support co-ops and community organisations want as well as initial ideas of future training we will help organise based on the survey. If you haven’t filled in the survey yet, please do so here – it’s just 10 questions.
There will also be time for getting to know each other and some of us will be heading to the pub afterwards to carry on the conversations.
We are working with Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) to organise a workshop on how to set up a housing co-operative.
Housing co-operatives are one of many ways to create more genuinely affordable and secure housing in the city.
Helen Bartlett from Rosa Bridge housing co-op will be talking her experiences in setting it up on Thursday 17 May from 6:30PM in the Hanover room in the Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD. (map here)
There will be time for both a brief introduction to housing co-ops as well as more in-depth advice on how to set them up, based on the experiences of Rosa Bridge. Space will be given for questions and getting to know others.
There are limited places available. Please email admin[at]bhclt.org.uk as soon as possible to find out more and sign up.
The workshop is free but participants need to become BHCLT members (fee £1). Join here: bhclt.org.uk/membership
More info on Rosa Bridge
Rosa Bridge is a small, queer, feminist co-op of five members, set up in 2014 with the help of a grant from the DCLG’s Empty Homes Programme. It is part of an old dairy in the Tarner area of Brighton.
Rosa Bridge aimed to take housing, especially in the city centre, away from private ownership and to be part of creating different alternatives to notions of ‘home’.
What is a housing co-op?
A brief introduction video to what is a housing co-op is below (focused on student housing co-ops, but relevant to all housing co-ops). Housing co-ops don’t have to be for students – there are several which already exist in Brighton & Hove for people of all ages, including Rosa Bridge housing co-op.