This year’s Annual General Meeting was a definitive success with over 60 members joining the meeting at its peak. A big thank you to Dave Dunn for facilitating the meeting, and to all the members of the staff team who made it possible behind the scenes.
It was the second online Annual General Meeting held since the start of the public health restrictions, and while we look forward to having our next meeting in person, I think all can agree that we’ve been able to maintain a reasonably high degree of transparency in an online format.
We have produced formal minutes of the meeting, which we will publish by the end of July.
We thought however that we would write a more accessible note on proceedings for those that would like to know the highlights of the night.
Reports and Appointment of Auditor
We had a comprehensive series of reports from the Chair, Treasurer, Shop Co-ordinator and Co-operative Secretary and updates from the work of the Finance, Audit & Risk Committee and the Members’ Affairs Committee.
The reports focused on the challenges and successes of 2020, and the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead in 2021 as the Co-op continued to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.
There was a particular emphasis in the reports on the role of the wider membership in the success of the Co-op, both in volunteering within the Shop but also the Co-op’s governance structures.
Members agreed to the adoption of the annual report and the audited financial statement, and to the reappointment of Hayden Brown Chartered Accountants as auditors for a second year.
CB Elections & Co-options
The meeting noted that Grace Wilentz stood down during the year, and that Filipa Ferraz would be stepping down at the Annual General Meeting.
Maureen O’Donnell, CB Chair, thanked them for their tremendous contribution during their tenure as CB members.
Brigid Corcoran and Elena San Juan Grande were elected to the CB, and gave short speeches.
Marina Lamprakis and Natala Cieszczyk had expressed an interest in being co-opted in future, and gave short speeches to that effect.
Affiliation with ICOS
The members discussed the Co-op affiliating with ICOS, a national umbrella body for co-operatives, for another year and heard the various arguments for and against.
While there appeared to be a consensus in favour of continuing for another year, with notable reservations among some members, Pauric Cannon (a founding member) exercised a blocking objection.
The Co-operative Secretary advised that rather than continuing the discussion on the night and/or bringing it to a vote, that the motion be tabled and brought to a Special General Meeting before the end of the year.
This would give members and the CB a chance to reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of affiliation with a view to making a final decision by the end of the year.
We want to thank all the members who attended AGM 2021 and exercised their democratic rights as owner members of our co-operative.
We also want to re-emphasis the message of many of the contributors at the AGM, encouraging all members with an interest in getting involved at the Co-op to do so.
Our Co-op is only as strong as its membership, so we warmly encourage anybody curious about what it is like to volunteer or take a community role to talk to us about it by email or in the Shop.
The best way to get started is either through volunteering in the Shop, or getting involved in the Members’ Affairs Committee.
Both these options are meaningful in their own right, but are also good stepping stones to other ways of getting involved.