Ensuring a Future in the Space

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Notes from workshops and external discussions

Possible funding sources

Careful with strings attached!

In the case of paying rent

Amunizp (talk) 10:13, 16 January 2017 (UTC) spoke with Dominic from Martin Campbell a local commercial estate agent. He mentioned the difficulty of Finding workshop space in Richmond since it was easier to charge higher rent to office spaces and it is easy to convert a workshop to office space.

Working from memory he estimates shop floors in the Ham Close area can be a rent of between £12k to £15k per year. Office rent can be £30 per square foot. Hounslow could find cheaper places. Looking farther away in Brentford the price can be £15 per square foot.

If we need to stay in Richmond Hounslow could be cheaper.

He suggested looking into railway arch as a possibility of low rent I have found National Rail link.

Digital Champion training

Andrés went to a "digital champions" course with Prospect. Digital champions are people that help others with digital technologies: fixing computers, learning how to type, using the web, using mobile phones and tablets. These are some of the notes extracted:

  • Make sure you enjoy what you are doing.
  • Set flyers in schools, offer help at jobcentres, ...
  • Find out what people want to learn: target the users.
  • Realize your limits, make sure you don't sign up to more that you can do.
  • Find out how people learn and use it. Some people like DIY, others like taking notes and then trying to do it by themselves. Adjust to it.
  • Don't assume:
    • Disk into gap in hardware. (where do you put in the DVD, USB, etc)
    • Mouse could be instinctively put on the floor as it looks like a sewing machine pedal.
    • There is no such thing as a silly question
    • Ask for regular feedback (Did I explain myself correctly?)
  • Worth getting a CRB check, criminal Records bureau (used to be vetting and baring) for when working with young people and vulnerable adults.
  • Register as a volunteer to make sure you are no a criminal: get a card.
  • Have clear step by step guides with image dumps
  • Hand outs are useful to take away.
  • Prepare more than necessary in case they catch up.
  • Some people just want to know how to use it, not understand the underlying reasons of its workings.
  • explain technical terms: zippery, spear phishing, minioning, pharming, spam, ...

Lauren Notes from OXHACK

Andrés had a 1 hr phone conversation with Lauren. Lauren is the founder of the Oxford Hackspace. She is very humble about the amazing space she set up and has a lot of guiding help as to what to do and what NOT to do (as she feels she has taken some wrong turns).

  • Don't depend on other people/companies/grants for running the space. They are good for one offs but don't depend on them for running rent costs, technician maintenance etcetera. They depend on Oxford Trust Charity which are good, but it could not be as good.
  • As above insist that these spaces are Member Run organisations. Everybody is responsible for keeping machines working, hoovering, empting the bins, cleaning toilet, having stocks, etc.
  • Ask for a minimum membership fee. Their example is £10 monthly.
  • Make sure liability is clear and that insurance is covered. With some things people might be personally sued and not the organization
  • Avoid having employees.
  • grants should be used to buy one thing, not sustainability.
  • Avoid exhausting keyholders. Have more than two person responsible for the opening of the "open days". Make sure it is not always the same people.
  • Try to open more days so that more people can attend. Make it a special day for a certain activity.
    • Lets have a vote what day/time would be the best to open weekly or bi-weekly
    • Who can take ownership of that day?


There are well known studies about the lack of diversity in this kind of space. This is concerning in the moral point of view but in a practical sense we would be missing out on having more members and more community projects to do. So some ideas which have been proven to work.

  • Have a visible Sewing machine, vinyl cutter or other machines that are easy identifiable as "I know what that is, and I know how to use it"
  • Make sure the space feels safe: try to have more than two people.
  • Making modalities with things that are easy to understand to avoid alienation. It is OK to have very technical talks but it is also good to have basics.
  • Have a way to give finishing touches to a project for people to participate.
  • Have a place to hide out but being inside .
  • Team events such as international womens Day
    • Sign up people that can host it.
    • Show making
    • Teaching how to do things
    • Bike fixing seems to bring in a diverse day.
  • Assign a diversity officer (be it official or not)
  • Try to find out why people come once but don't feel that they want to come again.
  • Have an LGBT+ day open to all with a particular task e.g. textiles publicise it widely and target LGBT+ charities.
  • Get people talking with each other about other things, not only making.

Richmond New Tech

The Richmond New Tech is a group that is quickly becoming a formal organization. This is mainly looking into having a Silicon Upon Thames. (like the silicon round about in east london).

  • Richmond council has the highest density of technically minded people but most of the companies are set in central or east london. So communte.
  • There are some fairly large and small tech companies already in the area.
  • There is a movement to set up an business accelarator/incubator in Richmond adult ccommity college. There is a possiblity of having a hackspace under it to provide a service.

South west environmental network

  • having restart parties (from the restart project) across the council can be supported.
  • having an allocated e-waste collection point which will have funding of monthly pick ups by professionals from little house to recycle centre.
  • we are free to get rid of the most amount of boiler jackets, binders, and draft strips stored in the loft are as we can.

Science Museum Makerspace workshop

This is a talk organized between the science museum of London and the imperial college. Lots of guest speakers and opportunity to network with like minded people.

  • Makerspaces are normally well structured, documented spaces.
    • some are run like gyms.
    • highlight that they are member run organisations.
    • a way to be involved with the community.
    • maintenance of equipment
    • sharing of Tools, equipment, skills and knowledge
    • it really is nothing new as it has been going on for years with different names.
  • Some history in UK can be found here: Socially useful production
  • a very proud time in the UK was 1970s.
  • Different types in UK:
    • Open workshops > 500 across UK
    • UK Hackspace foundatin lists 65
    • Fab Foundations lists 35
    • UK men's in sheds assciation 430 (mens mental health)
    • Barclays digital eagles labs (4)
    • Openworkshop Network 45
    • institute of making...
  • Big issue: diversity
  • Accessibility for people with learning difficulty.
  • Maker assembly is a National meeting
  • Contacts:

Richmond Council Volunteering sector

Andres Attended the annual general meeting. Richmond Council has a very strong volunteering network.

  • there seems to be a large amount of volunteers in the following:
    • Disabilities
    • vulnerable adults
    • vulnerable children
    • health advice
  • Q&A
    • Q: How do you ensure that local small charities/volunteers are not pushed out by large national and international charities. A: It is a competitive market but need to ensure that like in the last 10 years the area stays diverse so there is a need to have high standards. Large organisations don't have the local knowledge
    • Q: Future thinking on community models without commisioning. A: Public services need economics of scale. There is intimacy of the local. The british village planning should be seen as a process not a document to follow.
    • CCG Consistency in procurement. A: definitely, there should be outcome based commissioning.
  • Director of RCVS
    • 3000 children are in need of economic support.
    • Two thirds of over 75 year old people have health issues.
    • There is a need to collect DATA: for example 18 thousand volunteers putting in 28 thousand hours equates to £41 million a year.

Grey court school facilities

Andres visited the grey court facilities. There are several equipment there that is under utilized. Notes:

  • Use of the space is good outside school hours from 18hrs from 21hrs Monday to Friday on school days. And saturdays from 9hrs to 18hrs.
  • Days are limited to when after school activities are already taking place because that is when the care taker is around.
  • OK to come and use the space free of charge but it would be helpful to get some sort of funding.
  • People need to be responsible and vouched for. Some equipment might be considered out of bounds until proof is provided that it is safe to use by individuals.

Ham Close redevelopment

Andres attends the stakholder group which collects all the information regarding the possible redevelopment. Most information can be found here. Special interest might be the minutes of the stakeholders group. The exciting thing is that Richmond MakerLabs is clearly labelled as something that will be needed once redevelopment happens. this is a great success since both RHP and council did not know we existed. RHP, council and our former MP have visited the space and have said this is a "must have" in any future. They would like for us to give feedback as to what we need. As they don't have a clue as what is needed: power lines, outdoor space, square meters, etc..

RML internal discussions

Jon H. Thoughts

Little House is too small for expansion of the group as it currently works - but we are too small to work in a bigger space - other nights of the week need more thought to bring the membership/usage up without losing the community feel.

Amunizp (talk) 17:52, 14 December 2016 (UTC) This goes in line with the Lauren's comments. We need to open more days. This is why Linux,_BSD_and_Open_Source is such a great idea. We need to continue making sure there is commitment on opening all the days advertised.

If the Ham Close redevelopment goes ahead then we might find ourselves homeless for 18m whilst the works are done - I think we need to think about what Grant(s) might be available I'm thinking ambitious - to get £25,000 to hire an empty retail unit for a year whilst redevelopment happens, or even £50,000 to add a wage to hire a technician/caretaker/outreach worker type person to actually allow our temporary space to be open during the day during the week? That might sound like a lot of money, but South London MS achieved over £20,000 from the Mayor, and having a shop front (perhaps literally) for our activities would allow significant expansion.

Amunizp (talk) 17:52, 14 December 2016 (UTC) RHP and Council have promised that they will not have us homeless We will be moved in phases or we might need to move twice. But it is good to prepare for the worst and there is the clear possibility that we will have to pay rent on the new premisses and/or pay the electricity bill. But I disagree with funding source, I am with Lauren and other directors and founders of spaces. It has to be member run organisations. If someone wants to come durring the day they need to be a member and just be part of the community. We might need to be a bit more committed with our monthly payments. This should not stop a member from dedicating their time to a one off workshop with some people to try out during the day. Or to ask for a personal donation for doing a workshop (this is done in other spaces to ensure commitment to attend).

Diversity - yes it would be nice to build a more diverse community, but this is slightly chicken and egg, whilst the majority of the members at an open evening are male-geeks, we may well frighten off a would be female member - it's clear there is interest from the visitors that we have had, but we haven't been able to turn those first visits into second or third visits. We do need to work harder at this, and I've got to believe that tidiness and actually having working space (rather than every corner filled with hardware) would help.

Amunizp (talk) 17:52, 14 December 2016 (UTC) Yas! Tidiness tidiness and tidiness is very critical. Some of the documentation I read regarding this also said as much.