Bruadair is a fully mutual co-operative society, constituted under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Our primary rules are set by them under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act.
Our secondary rules are set by ourselves by consensus held at General meetings.
Bruadair Secondary Rules
Our secondary rules seek to outline a certain world view and set of beliefs that we as a co-op would like to live by. We have chosen a different path, we’re walking off the beaten track together with a shared belief in the place where we’re heading. We need to keep track of which direction we’re going so that we don’t get lost. These rules are like a map so that when we go the wrong way or get stuck in a bog, we have something to bring us back. It keeps us all headed in the same direction and ensures we don’t leave anyone behind. A map is a representation of the real world, it shows an idea of the world as we see it. It represents a journey, not a destination. It’s a tool that we use, not a dogma to say where we must go.
Criteria for Membership We ask that our members:
Go to Radical Routes gatherings after joining
Agree to our primary and secondary rules
Commit to getting involved in the co-op and what we’re doing – active participation
Come to our meetings
Share our interests and take part in our shared vision
Engage in challenging personal privileges and commit to making the world a fairer place
Radical Social Change
As a co-operative, and as a member of Radical Routes – we are committed to achieving radical social change. For us, this means helping reshape our culture into one that meets and protects the needs of people and planet without causing damage or exploitation. We strongly believe that co-operative models provide many opportunities to move toward this vision of a sustainable future and will take every opportunity to share our co-operative and the skills and knowledge we have learned to help encourage and support others in setting up more co-operatives or other initiatives. We provide assistance to other co-operatives in case of need as well as participating in Radical Routes to the best of our abilities and availability.
We are committed to sharing our resources and facilities with the local community and any other groups or organisations similarly committed to achieving radical social change.
Radical Routes Membership
At least one member will attend each Radical Routes gathering as a representative. We ask that all members attend as many gatherings as possible. All members are responsible for upholding our Radical Routes work commitment. The co-op will pay for transport for members attending the gathering.
We are committed to providing affordable housing. The amount of rent charged will be set by the local LHA (Local Housing Allowance) rate. We will always set our rental amount at or below the amount that the local authority will provide in housing benefit. If an individual is not eligible for housing benefit, we will try and reduce the rent levels further, as long as it doesn’t jeopardize the co-op’s finances to do so.
We require all members to be honest about their income and personal wealth. This rule exists because we are all committing to a certain way of life within the co-op where members may be spending their time doing positive work for little or no financial gain. If a members disposable income (disposable income being after rent, tax, medical costs, etc) is more than twice the level of benefits for single adults over the age of 25, we would expect them to contribute increasingly more to the co-op and the wider co-operative movement, with any surplus to be saved ethically (preferably invested in co-ops). In part, this furthers our aim to provide affordable rent to individuals who are struggling financially.
Meetings/ Decision Making
All of our decision making is done through consensus at our meetings. We have regular general meetings as well as working group meeting. Members are expected to attend general meetings and participate in working groups. Members may miss one general meeting every now and then, this should be no more than 1 in every 3 meetings maximum.
Joining the Co-op
Before applying to join the co-op, all prospective members should complete a joining period where they get to know everyone in the group over a series of a few months. This period of time is there for each party to see how things go before making a full commitment. The acceptance of a new member into the co-op is legally binding for everyone involved, so we want to make sure we make the right choice. Prospective members will be invited to occasional meetings to experience how we work as a group.
Probationary Period When someone joins the co-op, there is a probationary period of 6 months before the person becomes a full member where the person must live within the co-op for the duration of time. The probationary period will start when the new members move into the property with the other members of the co-op. If a person is on a probationary period, they still have a say in the co-op but won’t be able to make the final call on big decisions. There are a few things that they will not be able to do, like accessing the co-op bank account. After 6 months, their membership status will be decided at a general meeting.
Active Participation & Communication We all take on an equal share of chores and housekeeping as well as taking part in group tasks like gardening or DIY. We also take initiative and are proactive when something needs doing. We are all equals sharing our lives and so we have a responsibility to ourselves and others. We also each have a financial responsibility. This means paying things like rent and bills on time and in full. If this is not possible, it means communicating what’s happening with the rest of the group. Lastly, we have a responsibility to each other. We want to support each other and so it is important to communicate how things are going, especially if something has been difficult. This includes being understanding of other people’s difficulties and needs.
We want our group to be a fully inclusive safe space for everyone. If you are joining the co-op then you are expected to help maintain a space where everyone feels able to contribute to whatever extent they like and be comfortable doing so, knowing that they will be respected and their views valued. Within this space, people will be protected from any kind or level of abuse.
Children are treated as individuals and we respect their ideas and opinions. The responsibility for children always fall on their parents, however, we encourage other co-op members to support parents in this and to support children in the same way as other co-op members. As the saying goes ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’
The responsibility for the care of animals always falls on the owner/carer. Bringing animals into the co-op is done through consensus. We do keep animals and consider their welfare of the utmost importance because they are sentient beings. They are not commodities, and should not be treated as such.
All members must take their environmental impact into account and commit to a sustainable practice. The co-operative always seeks to minimise environmental impacts and as far as possible always sources energy and materials from sustainable sources. We don’t use harmful chemicals which includes non-eco cleaning products.
We try to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as we can and encourage our members not to participate in consumer culture. This means we fix things instead of buying new and use our creativity to make do with what we have available to us. We try to minimise our use of disposable plastic and other harmful consumable products as much as possible. We want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem and welcome and encourage any processes that will help us create a permanently sustainable culture.
Carnivores and Herbivores
We recognise that everyone has the right to choose what they eat according to their own needs and ethics. We believe that it’s important to think about what we eat and where it comes from. Things we consider when buying food include; vegan/vegetarian, local, organic, packaging, free range and supporting local businesses and co-operatives over supermarkets. We understand that this often becomes difficult when on a low income but still encourage active discussions around these issues to allow us to find ways to meet our needs while trying to minimise our complicity in the many problems around food supply.
In case of conflict, we will follow our disputes policy laid out by the co-op. We will always endeavour to find amicable solutions to problems. In the event of discrimination, prejudice, violence, abusive or threatening behaviour in any form we hold the right to give an individual three warnings that will be given at a meeting. After the third warning, the individual will be required to leave.
If someone wants to leave the co-op, we ask that they give one months notice at a general meeting.
Changes to these rules This document can only be changed by consensus at a general meeting.