Tuesday, 27 October 2009

What we got up to on International Day of Climate Action!

Members of our co-op were involved in organizing a mass bike ride through our town to publicize 350.org, an international campaign drawing attention to the fatal levels of carbon in our atmosphere as well as generally highlighting climate change and our transition group.
We had a fantastic day which was really well attended (even with bucket loads of new faces - shock horror!).
We finished the bike ride at the People Community Garden, a fantastic local project which some friends of ours are involved in. Look them up.
This picture is on the 350.org website and will go up in times square as part of a photo montage of people around the world fighting climate change.

What have the Camels been up to?
Radical Rumours Report Oct 09

Helen's done mediation for CSG and making final touches to Member's Pack, Gem's joined Secretarial Group and is trying to do a finance visit for the Liverpool community.

We put on a talk entitled Introduction to Housing Co-ops and Communal Living at a rented commune in north Ipswich, called the Spinney. It was designed by Birkin Haward as his family home, and the idiot who now owns it wants to demolish it and build a sheltered housing complex. So they're in the process of getting it listed by the twentieth century society, and we're goading them into coming to a gathering so that if the landlords planning gets rejected, they can buy the place off him and be a proper co-op!

The talk wasn't hugely attended but it boosted our confidence in holding such events, we drew spider diagrams and sold booklets, and enthused the strangers-yes complete strangers!- who did come along. Thanks to co-ops who sent us notes and display material at short notice.

We plan to put on a follow up talk at the new university within the month, to nab unwitting students.

Our web presence: randomcamelcoop.blogspot.co.uk has been updated, we've put adverts for members and loanstock on the RR website and Diggers & Dreamers – where else is good?

The Ipswich food co-op is moving so we're rewriting leases/ helper instructions, shifting thousands of pounds of wholefood in bizarre vehicles, building cupboards & shelves, damp-proofing basement walls, sewing bunting, ordering signatory forms. Our membership have finally agreed on a system of individual work commitment to the co-op! Yes!

Organising a critical mass for the day of climate action coinciding with the community garden's open day.

Helen's working looaads at libraries, belly-dancing, and has made a fab poster for a new women's comic book group. John's drumming in his punk band, and dealt the mercy blow to our plum tree, which had fallen in two during the summer. Not before giving us many plums to eat. We're starting a programme of works on the allotment, at least we've written down what we must do.

Gemma's on a Clothing Alterations night course and going delirious and bug-eyed at the wild stitches a modern electric sewing machine can do. She cooked at EF! Set-up. She also drove halfway each way to the Halfway House-warming party in Derbyshire in the van, only stalling twice. And she attended the first night of the tour of End of the Line in Aldeburgh cinema, how quaint. The film about the fishing industry and global fish stocks crashing by 2048.

Made rosehips into syrup, haws into leather and haw brandy, sloes into sloe gin, elderberries into pie and wine, acorns into 'coffee' (and hopefully soon tempeh) apples into turnover, chestnuts into sweet spread.

Kate, who came to her first gathering this summer, moved into and out of Burrell Rd in just 3 weeks. This experience was painful for all of us. It was due to a lack of communication, exaggerated by low levels of mental wellbeing, and we've learnt how difficult it is to be a nuclear-family sized group of people in a communal space with differing -unvocalised- expectations of what communal means. Sometimes what one thinks might be sticking to process can seem like ganging up on the member you have issues with. Anyone with experience of intense bust-ups with a backdrop of mental 'dysfunction' for want of a better/more accurate term, please talk to us.

So the co-op is reevaluating; very definitely want to live as part of a larger group and potentially more rurally than before. Stopped looking for houses on market, concentrating on promotion for recruiting purposes.

Last week we got another thousand quid in loanstock, from our food coops apple juicer. We need fifteen more thousands.

We're not bothering submitting another model loan application but the business plan is re-jigged, not due to a visit from FG though.

Up with the pencil & pen, down with the programme!

Gemma's hand drawn front cover for Radical Rumours, Radical Routes internal newsletter that she also collates and formats. I say, what a talented slip of a girl! Bravo.

If you want to know what Radical Routes co-ops and associates get up to look for copies of rumours on the radical routes website or ask us!

Monday, 5 October 2009

'Introduction to Housing Co-ops and Communal Living' at the Spinney, 108 Westerfield Rd, Ipswich this Thursday, 8th October 7 - 9pm

Presentations, information and pretty displays on how to set up a community and buy a property together without requiring huge personal savings, and about Radical Routes the national co-operative support network.

Hosted by Random Camel Housing Co-op based in Ipswich - we're looking to buy our first house very soon and need several more members to make the project happen! Are you looking to join a radical community and work for social change here in Suffolk? The Spinney; an eight-person capacity rented space, also seeks new residents - what a great opportunity to meet us and see if we're perfect housemate material.

Canapes provided!

randomcamel@phonecoop.coop This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

01473 684 449

What is a Housing Co-operative (co-op)?

A housing co-op is formed when a group of people
buy property together wanting to live communally.
The purchased building is not owned by any
individual; it is a legal entity in its own right -
tenants pay £1 to join and this is the extent of
their liability. Tenants pay rent to the co-op,
managing the place themselves.
A housing co-op has legal safeguards to ensure
it remains open for future generations to move in.
Why are they so good?
As tenants of privately owned accomodation, we
have no control over our length of stay, how
much we pay in rent, or the physical conditions of
our homes. Removing the profit cut landlords
take makes rents cheaper. Owning our own
home means we can install facilities to
reduce the impact our lives have on the
environment; like greywater systems for
baths and sinks, as well as simple home
improvements impossible under normal tenancies.

How can you contribute? Why invest?

We will buy a property partly with a mortgage
from an ethical bank, and loan from a community
finance organisation. We need to raise 10% of the
total cost ourselves, and we’re asking you to help.
Being an Industrial & Provident Society we can set
periods when we issue 'loanstock': offering
individuals and organisations the opportunity to
invest money in the housing co-op. Loans of this
type are usually between £500 and £5000.
You can set the interest rate at 3% or 5%, or choose
to waiver interest to further benefit the project.
Point of repayment is also your choice - usually five
or ten years, or less for smaller loans. You can also
re-invest your money after that time.
You get your money back - whilst donations of
cash, skills or time are accepted gratefully, money
you lend us will be repaid. Radical Routes member
housing co-ops haven't had any bad debts since we
started operating fifteen years ago. This is not a
guarantee they’ll never occur but is an
indication of a robust financial model.

Why invest?
Ipswich needs more affordable housing, not
‘stunning, luxurious penthouses’.
Your money would be helping others take control
of their housing situation, and create a
permanent haven for those working for social
and environmental change - not only for the
co-op tenants but all members of the community.
It’s an opportunity to kickstart a long-term
project you can see the benefits of on your
doorstep, not a band-wagon fad that sends you
irritating junk mail.
Members’ rents and hire of space will provide
income for the project once up and running; we
are only asking for start-up funding.
It’s redistribution of wealth, with a return!

Hometown Blues - what we're against

Ipswich has a high proportion of low-income earners and claimants, who are taken advantage of by letting agents offering precarious tenancies. How can tenants take control of their lives or focus on global political issues when we are constantly worrying about scraping together a deposit, paying the rent, bills, and for food.
It's going to get harder to find accomodation to rent as more University Campus Suffolk students move into town, as there's already limited and low quality housing stock. ‘Waterfront’ apartment developments have no gardens, are unaffordable, poorly designed, energy wasting, and ugly. They are meant for City commuters, and promote an unsustainable nuclear-unit lifestyle. Everyone in tiny boxes using the same appliances as next door, with no common space or bond.

Ipswich River Defences are insufficient to protect us all from extreme floods, and yet our low-lying region is predicted to be severely affected by climate change-related flooding. East Anglia was once called the Bread Basket of Britain and yet most of the population now are alienated from their food supply. The essential art of growing vegetables is not on the school curriculum. Is it any wonder our young people leave town, saying it’s rubbish, that nothing happens?
Ipswich needs better facilities and a re-focus on community regeneration and empowerment. We believe a prerequisite in the fight for these demands is having a stable homebase shared with likeminded people. Living in a housing co-operative could inspire people to create other autonomous spaces in town - social centres, community farms and neighbourhood natural power

Who are Random Camel?

We're Ipswich’s first housing co-op. Our core aim is to house
those who find it hard to access decent accomodation.
This town used to be known as 'Red Ipswich’;
prominent as a site of protest. By providing much
needed meeting space and resources we seek to
rejuvenate this culture of civilian resistance to
unwanted and harmful development.
We plan to respond and adapt to climate change,
whose affect on this region will be massive. Any
property we buy will be above worst-case scenario
projected sea level. We intend to grow our own
organic food, encourage wildlife, and replenish
the fertility of our traditionally bountiful soil.
We want to install professional sound-proofing in
the property so local bands may hire space cheaply
to practise their music.
We are regulated by the FSA, and are members of
Radical Routes, a national organisation which
promotes and supports new housing co-ops.

Join us as a member!

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