Hackspace-News: New Committee

Published:

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Annual General Meeting:

On the 30th of October 2021 the Hackspace held its annual general meeting, a great opportunity for members and trustees alike to meet in person after so long.

The committee provided a brief update as to Hackspace’s status, particularly over the pandemic and summarising that despite declining membership, its financial position has stabilized as of September 2021, and now is the time to plan for the future.

The committee expressed aspirations to stand down given recent changes in personal circumstances, preventing them from devoting the time needed to continue driving the Hackspace forward. As such a new committee was voted in seeing Simon Ridley elected as Chairman, Josh Oliver as Treasurer, and Vivik Roy as Secretary.

The new committee would like to acknowledge the hard work and effort of the previous committee, and look forward to building upon what they have achieved.

Actions & Agreements:

  • After a review of the various options available, the committee elected to adopt a CIC legal structure, a much needed requirement. This will be implemented shortly.

  • The need for Public Liability Insurance still remains, however financially the Hackspace requires additional and regular funds in order to finance this requirement. Given the impact the pandemic has had on the Hackerspaces finances, it will be some time before funds are back to full strength, therefore this remains a high priority open action, with the committee fully aware of the risk that liability could result in the Hackspace closing.

  • Once the hackspace has formalised its legal structure, it has agreed to review a number of funding avenues, including funding bids. Given that the Hackspace co-shares its venue with https://www.fundingforall.org.uk/ it makes sense to approach them to seek mentorship in applying for funds from other trusts and foundations to increase our chances of success.

  • The Hackspace’s assets and workspace has been in a general disarray for some time, therefore the committee have agreed to complete an inventory as of the 27th of November 2021. This will allow the committee to have a better understanding of what needs to be sold, replaced or purchased, along with reorganising the general placement of equipment within the workspace, creating a more user friendly environment.

  • The committee has agreed that the current website lacks sufficient detail to draw in new members and inform current members, although some updates have occurred since the AGM. The administration of the website is also not user intuitive and makes developing its content difficult, particularly when the committee are not experienced web developers. Moving forward if this can’t be addressed, this may influence the committee moving to a different platform. Further to this it was felt that currently the Hackspace provides too many options for communication which spreads the committee too thinly to answer any received communication quickly and efficiently.

  • The committee has agreed to discontinue the use of the Forum, and the mailing list. This will come into effect shortly. The committee’s focus towards the website is an events page, detailing courses, workshops, and opening evenings to drive membership and generate funds.

  • A number of ideas have been proposed by the committee to increase its community involvement, and generate funds. The committee are currently formalising plans for hosting a “sumo bot” event, the premise being that robots attempt to push each other out of a defined space or “ring” to win. This event has the potential to provide a series of classes / workshops to participants in learning electronics / robotics, and utilising these skills to assemble their robot. Vivik Roy (Secretary) has experience in teaching electronics, therefore it would be advantageous to utilise his experience in driving this. Beyond the proposed event, classes in various technical topics can also be provided to the public for a fee.

  • It was also proposed that the Hackspace needs to improve its presence once again since the pandemic. Pre-pandemic the members of the Hackspace were quite active at attending a number of regular events such as PiWars, Raspberry Jam, and Electromagnetic Field Camp, all which contributed to “word of mouth” awareness. The committee will be reviewing its attendance at these events once again, and hopefully rallying some new interest from members to participate in group activities.

  • Finally a Hackspace member recently proposed to the committee the opportunity to get involved with the “six bricks” concept, designed to excite and motivate young children in the classroom to attain the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary for success in later life. Given that the committee possesses the necessary DBS checks to support this, along with experience in teaching, and access to 3D printing equipment to manufacture the bricks, this presents another viable option which the committee has elected to pursue further.

  • As a result of the recent inventory work the committee has been carrying out, it has been agreed that Hackspace has become overwhelmed with previous and current members discontinued or unfinished projects, along with collecting an impressive collection of donations albeit some being more useful than others. Given this situation, the Hackspace lacks sufficient storage space for equipment and consumables. Therefore it has been agreed that moving forward members will no longer be permitted to store projects at the Hackspace, and donations need to be more carefully monitored to avoid storing unnecessary contributions.

The AGM has given the new committee plenty to action and address, but presents lots of opportunity and hope.