Site Update

We’ve now set up our Support Us page to enable people to sign up to support us with a monthly donation. Please do sign up if you can.

Also taking on board some of the questions and feedback we’ve had over the last few months, we’ve updated our About Us page to more clearly explain why we’re here. Let us know what you think.

Bristol Anarchist Bookfair

Thanks to everyone who came to chat to us at our stall at the bookfair yesterday. Quite a few people enthusiastic about the idea put their names on the email list, and we got our first signup for a regular donation! If you’d like to sign up for a regular donation you can do so on our Support Us page.

Friern Barnet People’s Library

DSC00362This week we went to visit the Friern Barnet People’s Library. In April last year Barnet Council closed Friern Barnet library with the intention to sell off the building. In September ex-Occupy activists took over the building and re-opened it as a community library with help and support from the local community. After the council took the occupants to court to evict them, difficult negotiations resulted in the library being handed over to the newly formed Friern Barnet Community Library Ltd. The library is now a vibrant volunteer run community resource, full of books mostly donated by library supporters. When we arrived one of the volunteers was leading a parent & toddler group singing nursery rhymes.

You can see the photos from our visit here

A useful day at Bristol Uni

We learned quite a bit from holding a stall and attending talks and workshops at today’s Social Enterprise Conference and enjoyed the opportunity to discuss the project with people face to face. Particularly enjoyed talks by Sophie Tranchell from Divine Chocolate and Becca Lamont Jiggens from UnLtd on “how to get your idea across without confusing or boring people”. Thanks to Bristol Hub for organising the day and to FoodCycle Bristol for providing a tasty lunch.

Legal Structure

This week we had a meeting with an adviser at the Avon Co-operative Development Agency about what might be the best legal structure for The People’s Building and Land Trust. They were really helpful and gave us some great advice. What was really encouraging was that the adviser understood the concept of a Gift Economy and could understand the motivations behind what we’re trying to do. This was great because a lot of people struggle to get their head round the concepts involved.

There seem to be two main options, one is a type of Co-op called a Community Benefit Society and the other is a Registered Charity. Both of these structures will allow us to have tax exemption but each has other pros and cons. Both also involve a certain amount of financial expense.

Partly because of the expense and partly because we are keen to get started we are going to go with the suggestion of becoming a Community Association for the time being while we consider which of the two options will be best. That way we will be a constituted organisation and can start having meetings as such as well as taking donations. The other point is that you actually can’t register as a charity until you have an annual income of £5,000.

We’ll be holding a public meeting on a Saturday in January somewhere in central Bristol so we can present our plans and people can have the opportunity to share their thoughts. So look out for more info on that.

In the meantime don’t forget to keep sharing the Facebook page and remember, if you want to receive occasional updates on Trust activities send an email to info@peoplestrust.org.uk with “Subscribe” in the subject. Thanks for reading.