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JohnB

Eco-Hamlets UK - Starting a Social Enterprise

I started Eco-Hamlets UK with the aim of it being a voluntary organisation, where people who want to create and live in small sustainable neighbourhoods work together to help each other. Many people have been inspired by the idea, but I haven't been able to make it work in this form. Some progress is made, then something happens that causes a setback, and the momentum and some good opportunities are lost. I've put too much into it to give up though, and I want to live in one of these places, so now it gets serious!

I'm working on establishing Eco-Hamlets UK as a social enterprise. This should give us a lot more credibility, and access to funding and support that we couldn't get before. The plan is that Eco-Hamlets UK will be a kind of hub, helping to get people together, and providing them with access to all the resources they need to create small sustainable neighbourhoods all over the UK. Some resources will come directly from Eco-Hamlets UK, but a lot will come from a network of associated small businesses, that Eco-Hamlets UK supports, and receives much of its funding from. A lot of the detail of how it will work will come when more people are involved, but that's the general idea.

The first draft of a proposal is online, and comments and suggestions on how to improve it, or even totally different ways to achieve the aims, are welcome. It's at http://www.eco-hamlets.org.uk/enterprise_wiki . There's a Discussion area at the bottom of each page for comments.

Now we need more people to join in, and help make it happen. It's probably easier to start with a few people who live in West Wales, so it's easy to have face to face meetings, but most work will be done online, so anyone in the UK with broadband can be involved. We need:

- Decision makers (directors, trustees or similar, depending on the legal form the social enterprise takes) who help make the big decisions, but maybe don't have much time available.

- People who do the day to day work, which will probably be mainly office work, organising events etc. Ideally we will have some paid employees, but this will depend on how we can finance it, and we will also need volunteers. We will probably need volunteers only at the start.

- It may be good to form a "task and finish" group to help get things started.

If you're interested in getting involved with any of this, please let me know. If you want to live in an Eco-Hamlet once we're established, follow our progress, or offer support in the future, sign up to the Newsletter mailing list at http://www.eco-hamlets.org.uk/newsletters.php .
Hairyloon

Looks like a good move. You cannot run a decent operation like that without pinning it down to a proper format.
I haven't studied it yet, I will when I get to a proper computer...
JohnB

For anyone in West Wales this weekend, Eco-Hamlets UK has a stand at the Eco Fair at the National Woollen Museum in Drefach Felindre, near Newcastle Emlyn.
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