Four Seasons Community Cooperative are working on a framework which will mutually benefit ourselves, the council and the local community; socially, economically and environmentally.
The Community Co-operative will be comprised of:
1. A Renewable Energy Cooperative which will make the Oast House carbon neutral and reduce the energy bills for the local area. We intend to install a solar farm, and we propose to feed energy into the neighbouring police station so that they can invest more resources into keeping the neighbourhood safe.
We are hoping to get help and guidance from our friend Donnacaugh McCarthy: ex-deputy chairman of the Liberal Democrats party; designer of the first carbon neutral home in London; and #13 in the London Evening Standard's list of the 1000 most influential people in London.
We are also hoping to work alongside: MaidEnergy Co-operative who provide locally owned, clean energy for schools and community groups; Spelthorne Energy Cooperative and Transition groups in the area.
2. The Social Cooperative will provide: formalised education and skills courses teaching recognised skills to increase employability; creative development including arts classes and free workshop space; an open community space available to run events for free; a library of 'stuff' which would include useful tools for locals to loan and share (such as diy tools, ladders ect...); a book swap/library; an open vegan cafe which also form part of the Workers Cooperative; and a urban edible garden which will also form part of the Workers Cooperative and provide reasonably priced organic produce, cultivate permanent culture and conserve local wildlife. The Social Centre will have fixed opening hours and will be open 7 days a week.
We have secured support and guidance from ReSpaces Ltd, a not for profit community interest group that regenerates urban environments through community initiatives. We are also pursing further help from community organisations including Radical Routes.
3. A Workers & Marketing Co-operative will be a member-run, not-for-profit enterprise, comprised of the cafe and the garden as well as utilising skills of the members (handywork, clothing alterations, hairdressing, cleaning ect...). This will provide employment as well as strengthening the local economy: making affordable products and services for local people.
We will secure support from Radical Routes, Seeds For Change, Cooperatives UK and The Cooperative Enterprise Hub for mutual support, advice and training with running the Workers and Marketing Cooperative.
4. A Housing Cooperative. Part of the space will be used to house resident members. This is a way of making housing truly affordable as rent paid will go into the upkeep of the space and not into making profit. We aim to house approximately 20 people as well as a offering a free guest space which can be booked short term on a first come first serve basis.
This will be registered and supported by Seeds for Change, Radical Routes, Cooperatives UK and the International Cooperative Alliance.
As an autonomous and independent self help organisation, we act with concern for the wider community.
We believe in honesty, social responsibility, transparency and care for others.
Cooperative membership is open and voluntary.
As a precautionary measure, to make sure we can maintain a democratically run cooperative, we aim to have at least one non-resident member from the local area for every resident member of Four Seasons Community Co-operative.
Each member has an equal share and therefore an equal say in how the Community Cooperative is run.
The exciting urban regeneration project aims to preserve the heritage and culture of staines upon Thames while cultivating a vibrant local community.