Joining Radical Routes
Who can join ?
Radical Routes is made up of Co-operatives, i.e. individuals and other groups cannot join (although they can become an associate member), it is your co-op that joins (i.e. your limited company or society). There is nothing to stop you starting the joining procedure just as a group of friends wanting to set up a housing co-op or business or whatever, but at the point you apply to join you must be a legally registered co-op with a set of rules and everything which that entails. Some groups therefore get accepted to Radical Routes provisionally and then register the legal structure at the last minute. Sometimes this is because there are running costs that are incurred just by existing as a co-op, sometimes it's because they just can't wait to join and their co-op registration is taking a while.
Radical Routes is very particular about who it accepts, we're pretty hard line co-operators and social change activists. You must be a fully mutual co-op, your rules will be checked to make sure you cannot run off with the cash. You must be committed to positive social change and we will want to know what you do about it, being a card carrying member of greenpeace is not enough: each of your members actually has to spend a significant amount of time working towards a better world. You have to show that you are committed to a low impact lifestyle.
Why should we Join Radical Routes ?
The main benefits that you get when joining Radical Routes are a supportive mutual aid structure and cheap loans. To be honest most members join for the cheap loans which are essential for many small independant co-ops. However, many members find that as their co-op and their role in Radical Routes develop, other benefits emerge through the mutual aid ethos which is at the heart of the network.
How do we join Radical Routes ?
Joining is a fairly long procedure. It takes a minimum of 3 consecutive gatherings (i.e six months) and there is a set procedure to follow. You don't, however, have to do anything before your first gathering. You may wish to contact the Co-op Support Group (CSG) on 07510 20478971 to brief them that you will be there and to ask any questions you have before the gathering, but the main thing to do is to attend the gathering. A copy of the agenda which contains all the information you need about how to get there (as well as the business of the day) is available from Footprint Workers Co-op (0113 262 4408).
Once at the gathering, about 10 minutes into the first business meeting, after all the introductions and housekeeping notices, new groups will be whisked away by a member of the Co-op Support Group for an Introduction to Radical Routes and information on how to join. You can Download a PDF of the section of the members pack that refers to joining if you like. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read this file.
What is an Associate Member ?
- Associate Members are mutual co-ops in common ownership (including all entities subscribing to the co-operative principles and organising as if they are in common ownership) that wish to engage in the work of Radical Routes but do not want the commitment of being full members.
- Associate Members pay a quarterly service payment (minimum £8.75) and receive minutes & agendas. They are listed in the directory and on the website, where they can update their own entries and add newsflashes.
- Although they can contribute to discussions, Associate Members cannot block agreement of proposals and they cannot apply for a loan. While there are no obligations to attend gatherings or contribute work, many Associate Members do. Listed members of the Trading Co-ops Network must be either Associate or Full Members.
How do you become an Associate Member ?
- Make sure at least one member has attended an ‘Introduction to Radical Routes’ workshop. Most usually this would be at a gathering, but a Radical Routes joining visit to your co-op is also be possible.
- Join the Radical Routes email list.
- Send one page of information about the co-op (members, activities, plans etc.) to the Secretarial Group for inclusion into a gathering agenda, making it clear that you wish to apply for associate membership. This must include a statement declaring their commitment to the Radical Routes Aims and Principles and explaining how you will contribute to Radical Routes. This can either be for a gathering before you wish to join or for the gathering at which you wish to join.
- Do a presentation to a gathering to introduce yourselves.
- Send your Primary Rules or Articles of Association to the Secretary.
- Set up a standing order for your service payments.