The future of the Hackspace Foundation

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Russ Garrett

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Apr 18, 2011, 5:13:44 PM4/18/11
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Back in January 2009, when Jonty and I started the London Hackspace
project, we were keen on kickstarting the hackerspace scene in the
whole of the UK, not just in London. So we named our company the
Hackspace Foundation to convey that we'd like to help start as many
spaces as possible.

With the benefit of hindsight, this was a bit of a silly move. We
didn't realise how vast an undertaking London Hackspace would be, and
it's clear now that we wouldn't want our company directly involved
with any other hackerspaces. Hackerspaces should be autonomous, both
to limit their risk and to govern themselves independently.

The Hackspace Foundation has acted as a central point to distribute
some small grants (notably from the Guardian) to the UK hackerspace
community, but there's increasingly a conflict of interest with this
money living in a bank account which mainly serves the London
Hackspace. There's also confusion that the company which runs the
London Hackspace is called the Hackspace Foundation.

So, firstly, we'd like to propose to rename the Hackspace Foundation
to London Hackspace Ltd. This will resolve any confusion as to who's
getting subscribers' money, stop people getting confused about why we
don't have "Ltd." in our name (don't ask) and hopefully stop our
landlord calling us "Hackspace Foundations".

Secondly, and more excitingly, we'd like to form a new unincorporated
association called the Hackspace Foundation. This association will
receive all unpaid grant money from London Hackspace, and act as a
central point for collecting new grants. This association will consist
of representatives from all UK hackerspaces, who will be able to vote
on how money is distributed.

We'd like to encourage all UK hackerspaces who are making a surplus to
donate a small amount yearly to the new Hackspace Foundation - we can
then use this money to help growing or struggling hackerspaces.

Thoughts?

--
Russ Garrett
ru...@garrett.co.uk

Francis Davey

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Apr 18, 2011, 6:31:06 PM4/18/11
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On Apr 18, 10:13 pm, Russ Garrett <r...@garrett.co.uk> wrote:
>
> Secondly, and more excitingly, we'd like to form a new unincorporated
> association called the Hackspace Foundation. This association will
> receive all unpaid grant money from London Hackspace, and act as a
> central point for collecting new grants. This association will consist
> of representatives from all UK hackerspaces, who will be able to vote
> on how money is distributed.
>

So it will be an association of hackspaces?

Francis

Russ Garrett

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Apr 18, 2011, 6:33:15 PM4/18/11
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On 18 April 2011 23:31, Francis Davey <fjm...@gmail.com> wrote:
> So it will be an association of hackspaces?

The exact structure is still up for debate, but that would probably be
my favoured possibility. (And another One Click Ogs feature request I
think.)

--
Russ Garrett
ru...@garrett.co.uk

Sci

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Apr 18, 2011, 6:35:56 PM4/18/11
to london-h...@googlegroups.com
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

We are the UK Hackerspaces, we do not forgive, we do not forget, we do
not pay attention to warranty stickers..

*cough* ;)

~ Sci
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cepm...@yahoo.co.uk

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Apr 18, 2011, 6:36:57 PM4/18/11
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Better that the new organisation has a different name... (Hackspace
Support Association? or similar) Re-use of the original name for a
different purpose is likely to cause confusion with anyone (suppliers,
landlords, Local authority, banks, donors etc.) not familiar with our day
to day workings. The old name can be left to fade into the background as
various contacts "get with the program" Sadly, no matter how many times
certain organisations are told about changes of name there is always
someone who gets it wrong and another body with a different purpose using
the same name is asking for problems. Given the impossibility of
correcting all the references to the foundation in directories,web pages
and so on better that the name be retained in our control but left dormant.

As to the idea of a funding distribution body, properly constituted, it
can only make things better all round. Proper targeting of donors cash
will encourage further giving and support in kind. Perhaps the proposed
association could also act as a clearing house for surplus equipment and
ideas?


On Mon, 18 Apr 2011 22:13:44 +0100, Russ Garrett <ru...@garrett.co.uk>
wrote:


--
Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/mail/

Andrew Godwin

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Apr 18, 2011, 7:28:28 PM4/18/11
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On 18/04/11 23:36, cepm...@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
> Better that the new organisation has a different name... (Hackspace
> Support Association? or similar) Re-use of the original name for a
> different purpose is likely to cause confusion with anyone (suppliers,
> landlords, Local authority, banks, donors etc.) not familiar with our
> day to day workings. The old name can be left to fade into the
> background as various contacts "get with the program"

I agree, it's unfortunate, but two explicitly new names is going to make
things a lot less confusing. It could be something overly nationalistic,
like "British Hackspaces", though I'm not sure what the reserved company
name rules say about that.

One other thought, that I assume Russ has already had, is getting the
national umbrella organisation to be a charity - there's a bit of
overhead there, but there's potential for things like gift aid and
people judging us instantly will have a better impression.

There's quite a bit of legal overhead, though, from what I recall - I
have a friend who helps run a small one, and I seem to remember various
tales of annoying problems with the government and/or suppliers.

Andrew

M

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Apr 18, 2011, 7:39:18 PM4/18/11
to london-h...@googlegroups.com
Any time I mention the hack space, people get a bit uneasy with the word hack.. Anything better suited?

Charles Yarnold

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Apr 18, 2011, 7:42:32 PM4/18/11
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A perfect moment to educate them?

M

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Apr 18, 2011, 7:44:53 PM4/18/11
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:)

Russ Garrett

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Apr 19, 2011, 3:10:06 AM4/19/11
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On 18 April 2011 23:36, <cepm...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> Better that the new organisation has a different name... (Hackspace Support
> Association? or similar) Re-use of the original name for a different purpose
> is likely to cause confusion with anyone (suppliers, landlords, Local
> authority, banks, donors etc.) not familiar with our day to day workings.

I agree. In fact, I think the name "UK Hackerspaces" might be better -
I'm not really a fan of the name "Hackspace" as a general description.

--
Russ Garrett
ru...@garrett.co.uk

Chris Mear

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Apr 19, 2011, 5:18:09 AM4/19/11
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On 18 April 2011 23:33, Russ Garrett <ru...@garrett.co.uk> wrote:
> On 18 April 2011 23:31, Francis Davey <fjm...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> So it will be an association of hackspaces?
>
> The exact structure is still up for debate, but that would probably be
> my favoured possibility. (And another One Click Ogs feature request I
> think.)

Duly noted!

https://github.com/oneclickorgs/one-click-orgs/issues/281

Chris

Francis Davey

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Apr 20, 2011, 3:20:55 AM4/20/11
to London Hackspace


On Apr 19, 12:28 am, Andrew Godwin <and...@aeracode.org> wrote:
>
> There's quite a bit of legal overhead, though, from what I recall - I
> have a friend who helps run a small one, and I seem to remember various
> tales of annoying problems with the government and/or suppliers.
>

That's true but shouldn't be too off-putting. After all quite a few
small organisations run happily as charities.

As a general rule you have to deal with a regulator which in practice
means the Charities Commission or the FSA. So there is more admin than
with an unregulated body like a non-charitable unincorporated
association. There is therefore regulatory compliance.

It also prevents the promoters/organisers making a profit for
themselves and requires more care on behalf of the trustees/directors/
whatever of the charity which can scare some.

One Click aims to be able to deal with this sort of organisation one
day, so I suspect we will want to and hopefully will be able to help
reduce the pain. That is the whole idea anyway. And unless I am
astonishingly busy, unwell or hired by google (*) I'll be around to
help.

(*) Google are advertising for lawyers (in London) at the moment. The
last time I thought about this my old pupil master said that however
nice and cool they might seem "they are still The Man". Food for
thought.

Francis

Robert Leverington

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Apr 20, 2011, 7:20:38 AM4/20/11
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This is an excellent plan.

Do you have a proposed timescale for this?

Is this something you want the community involved in initially
organising (seems there is a fair amount of things that need to be
decided and implemented)?

Robert

Russ Garrett

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Apr 20, 2011, 11:43:59 AM4/20/11
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On 20 April 2011 12:20, Robert Leverington <rob...@rhl.me.uk> wrote:
> Do you have a proposed timescale for this?

There's no particular hurry. If we want to retain the name then we'll
probably have to wait until we've finished renaming the existing
company, which may be some time.

> Is this something you want the community involved in initially
> organising (seems there is a fair amount of things that need to be
> decided and implemented)?

It's not a huge amount of work and I'm happy sorting most of it out
myself. If I need anyone's help I'll ask :)

--
Russ Garrett
ru...@garrett.co.uk

Russ Garrett

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Jul 28, 2011, 5:58:32 AM7/28/11
to uk-hac...@googlegroups.com, London Hack Space
Update!

The Hackspace Foundation is no more, we are now London Hackspace Ltd.
We also passed a resolution last at our AGM last night:

1. That the directors are authorised to create a new organisation for
the benefit of all UK hackerspaces.
2. That any assets held by the company for the benefit of all UK
hackerspaces be transferred to the above organisation.

So I'm going to get on that shortly.

Russ

--
Russ Garrett
ru...@garrett.co.uk

Clare Greenhalgh

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Jul 28, 2011, 9:56:27 AM7/28/11
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That is a excellent name and I am so glad the the word London is in it!

I think people do need to be educated about what it is, and it makes
me happy that the word Hack is still in the name. I often get asked
and it always gets all the more interesting the further into the
discussion we get. I have always found that people leave with a happy
glow about the word, and never seem to remember ad go on to say that
they have a (for example) knitting hackcircle or something along those
lines....

Very happy and congratulations Russ on getting the name, and to
everyone on our new naming - when's the party for this?

Noko

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