Action Group Meeting
Sunday 14th September 2008
Present: Roman, Sam, Fernando, Lynne, Diana, Marian, Taskin, Fudge, Nerea,
Charlotte, Mattus, Ida
1. Action room co-ordinator
Who will be the co-ordinator of the action room?
We need a booking system/book for the action room.
Someone has to do the weekly clean up.
Sam said he is happy to share the co-ordinator post with someone else, but only if the job doesn’t become too big.
Roman is willing to be the action room co-ordinator who will organise the weekly clean up.
Sam has agreed to be the action room co-ordinator who will deal with the bookings.
Emi thought that it shouldn’t only be one person cleaning up; everyone should take responsibility for keeping the action room tidy.
Sam suggested we need some kind of figure head to encourage people to tidy up.
Lynne suggested starting up some kind of rota system where different people can put their names down to clean each week.
Diana proposed that we need a ‘to do’ list of jobs that need down in the action room.
Action: Roman is gong to make a ‘to do list’ and a cleaning rota for the action room.
Sam has volunteered to look after the booking system, but he would like some guidance. Sam will buy a booking book.
2. Crafty room co-ordinator
Roman is the crafty room co-ordinator.
Roman suggested changing the crafty room lock as too many people have keys and it is being used as a place to hang out, rather than as a creative space for workshops or meetings.
How do we organise the crafty room without restricting people?
Roman mentioned that there is a post on the bb about how the crafty room works and how it should be used. It says that the crafty room shouldn’t just be used for hanging out. It should be used for workshops and meetings.
Sam proposed that we should have a cleaning co-ordinator for the crafty room who will encourage a team of volunteers to keep the crafty room tidy.
Fudge said that the people who use the crafty group should take responsibility for tidying up after themselves.
Charlotte suggested keeping the tools in the cupboard it the crafty room that isn’t being used anymore.
Taskin asked if we could have the same system for the crafty room as the cave?
We have to speak to Nix about his concerns regarding the system for the crafty room being the same as the cave. Nix has reasons why this might not be a good idea.
Fudge and Fernando suggested starting a crafty room working group.
Sam said that we need to make a clear notice of what’s going to happen in the crafty room.
Roman and Mattus proposed that we need a list of members of the crafty room.
Again, Roman suggested that we need to change the crafty room lock, and that people will need to either be a member of the crafty room working group or the Forest working group to be able to get the key.
There are already forms for people to fill in when they ask for the crafty room key, saying what they are going to use the room for. But we don’t always know the people.
Roman asked if we should have some kind of membership system, so we can get to know all the users of the crafty room?
Action: We need to start up a crafty room working group.
Mattus suggested that the crafty room group will be responsible for cleaning up.
Lynne will put up a post on the bb about starting up a crafty room group.
Roman will make up a poster about the crafty group meeting.
We still have to decide whether these meetings will take place every week or every two weeks.
Nix has voiced his concerns that there are too many health and safety and legal issues surrounding the Forest hiring out bikes to people we don’t know (see post above.)
Basically, if someone injures themselves when using one of our bikes, we are liable and could be sued!
Mattus still wants to fix up bikes for people, but not on a regular basis.
Fernando is willing to help Mattus.
Mattus knows a bike mechanic who can also help.
Fernando mentioned using some sort of disclaimer.
Mattus said this wouldn’t work as some people might not fully understand it.
Nerea is the Forest bike co-ordinator. She said that we are no longer hiring out bikes because we are legally liable.
However, she suggested that we vote on whether we should start up the bike project again.
Nerea suggested that the bikes should be for Forest people only, which will get round the legal problems. This means that we can make up a disclaimer. She said that we also need somewhere to store the bikes as they are currently kept outside which isn’t good.
Nerea suggested the balconly? Nerea is going to ask James about this.
Action: we all voted that it was a good idea to start up the bike project again, but only hiring them out to Forest people who will sign a disclaimer.
Nerea, Nix, James, Fernando and Mattus will arrange a bike meeting to discuss the above matters.
4. New projects within the action group
Roman and Ida want to start up community action projects.
This is their proposal:
Project: “Talking for a Change”
September 2008 – February 2009
During 6 months monthly conversations/presentations will take place in the Forest Café. Six Local NGO’s, environmental, social or political activists will talk about important issues from their fields or present their organisations and their work. Each event will take averagely 1h 30 min including questions from the audience. Events will be recorded and maybe burned as a Documentary Film DVD.
Why this project?
Currently the Forest café is quite passive in the area of Community Actions; there aren’t many community, political or alternative media projects within the organisation. In order to get active among non-profit organisations/political groups in Edinburgh the Forest needs activities and contacts.
The project aims are:
To support community actions within the Forest;
To give NGO’s/political activists the opportunity to present their work and organisation;
To establish contacts and partnerships with other non-profit organisations/political groups;
To increase the knowledge of the audience in important issues.
1. Working on the concept of the project / development / new ideas etc.
2. Looking for potential speakers / guests and contact them.
3. Making Schedule of events.
4. Promoting event by posters / flyers / internet etc
5. Organising event day, preparing the café, introducing the speaker to the audience etc
6. (Making film about project)
Group of organisers:
Ida – EVS volunteer (Germany)
Roman – EVS volunteer (Georgia)
End of proposal.
Sam raised the point that the Forest has to remain impartial in political matters.
The Forest is a free venue to raise awareness of political issues, not a supporter of any one viewpoint.
Fudge suggested going to look at the work of the Quakers at their meeting house on Victoria Street. The Quakers have regular meetings to discuss political issues.
Mattus said that we should go and have a look at how the Quakers function.
Mattus also suggested that we need to discuss this proposal with the FWG to assess the potential risks to the Forest – remember the G8 rebel clowns!
Lynne raised the point that we need to be clear about our terms, i.e., are we going to discuss ‘social issues’ rather than the events being purely political? Also, the events are to be about ‘raising awareness’, rather than promoting any one point of view. The Forest must remain politically neutral.
Taskin proposed that we need some kind of self-protection system, like how the FWG operates concerning the grants.
Action: Roman and Ida will research the above.
Roman and Ida will approach the NGO’s themselves.
They want to put on a different event every month, and will put up posts on the bb asking for ideas, suggestions and guidance on how to run the events.
5. Plastic bag project
Roman suggested that the Forest should run weekly events such as plastic bag projects.
Nerea said it’s very important that we make the project funny, for example, making an ironic magazine about the issue. The event should be fun!
A woman called Kat is coming to the Forest in October to work on this project.
Decision: There will be a meeting at the end of September / beginning of October on how to put the project into action.
This project is open to everyone.
7. Organisation of the action group
Roman would like the action group to become more active with more members.
Roman would like the garden to be developed.
Taskin made the point that we don’t need to make the garden public, that is, part of the café.
Sam suggested that the garden operate on an invitation only basis; you must be invited by a volunteer.
Roman mentioned that we need to keep the garden clean. He also suggested that we should have a social event in the garden before it gets too cold.
Sam blocked this idea because the garden is a communal space; we don’t want to upset our neighbours or deal with surrounding politics.
Fudge made the point that the stairs leading to the garden need to be bleached as they are covered with moss and get very slippy.
Action: Blue is happy to be partially responsible for the garden with Sam and Fernando. Ida, Diana and Nerea are willing to help out sometimes.
9. Improving the entrance to the shop
Nerea proposed that we need to improve the entrance to the shop as there is too much rubbish lying around and it doesn’t look good.
Nerea also proposed that the shop workers could sweep and mop this space.
Nerea suggested that we throw away the curtains that currently cover the bins and put up wooden doors instead. These would be a better cover for the bins and would get rid of the smell. She also suggested that the doors could be painted, and tables and chairs could be put out with flowers on them to improve the space and make it more inviting.
Fudge raised that point that we have to be careful about blocking this space as it is a fire exit.
End of meeting.