Why I’m feeling fed up!
On Saturday 28th July I attended a meeting that was to vote for a change of setup for Farfield mill.
Yes that’s the place I’ve just moved into for my studio.
The meeting was attended by a lot of very enthusiastic and committed people who wanted to see the mill saved and start to thrive – it currently supports 19 small craft workers with studio space but the mill needs some money and has a new and hardworking trustee group who have worked hard to find a realistic and sustainable way forward and they did it. They took a lot of specialist advice and had the agreement of the banks and the Charity commission to take things forward in this way. The proposal was to change the company into a charitable community benefit society and along with that change they had a solid offer of £100,000 of match funding – this was a great proposal especially as the alternative is the winding up of the company and disposing of the assets. Everyone at the meeting with the exception of one person voted for the change and to save the mill. Sadly that wasn’t enough – the constitution demands a 75% membership agreement to change the company to something else. There were a small group who didn’t even attend the meeting who put in a block of no votes that meant the change couldn’t happen.
There is little time or opportunity now for anything to happen – the only possible solution is for enough new people to become members of the trust as it stands to change the vote at the next meeting which will almost certainly be giving a choice of the recommended change or official winding up.
A few of us are doing our best to persuade friends and family to become members and save what is a vital piece of weaving heritage as well as a vital place for small crafts people – mainly new start ups who are about to become homeless and will probably have to give up – I probably will.
Farfield mill – SAVE MY HERDY BANK?
Well maybe – Nothing official just yet but I know from the number of forms that I have sent to the mill this week that there has been a fantastic response to my plea for help and hopefully I’ll get to know exactly how many people have joined the trust in order to help us save not just the mill but also the community of artists that have studios there and of course the wonderful staff at the mill too. There are over thirty people whose jobs are on the line here.
So what can I tell you – well I know that the response has been fantastic and I also know that a group of the members from before last weekend have presented the trustees with a resolution for another vote to save the mill which supports going forward as a charitable community benefit society. We are currently awaiting the response from the trustees – which we hope will happen soon. (I’ll update you once I know for certain what the response is but I’ll be very surprised if it isn’t positive!)
Then of course is the time that all our new members will need to get into gear and get their votes in – it will be really important for every single person who has joined to vote for our change to a charitable community benefit society – WHY? Because in law we need to have a minimum of 75% of the voting members voting for the resolution – so we need everyone to make sure that they vote and please do it at the very first opportunity – you will be able to send a proxy vote in but please take note that we can’t afford to have any mistakes on these papers – they must be clearly signed and that means by hand not by computer and back to the mill at the earliest opportunity.
I just pray, hope and believe that this is all going to happen and that it will happen very soon – it would be the best 60th birthday present I could be given – and that happens a week on Saturday, so you can see just how quickly I think all of this could take place.
Of course the trustees need to make sure that they do everything correctly and having taken relevant advice – so it might not happen as quickly as I would like it to but you can be sure that I’ll keep you updated with announcements on my @bareweaver Facebook page.
Once the vote has happened of course then we really have the biggest hurdle and that is finding people willing to buy those all-important shares – I’ll be raiding my piggy bank – well actually my Herdy bank to buy some shares unless enough people buy me shares to save it – coming to think of it – anyone wanting to buy me a 60th birthday present that isn’t whisky – Shares in Farfield could be just the job!
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