Members voted to support Sailboat Project and its new venture, Sail Cargo South East (SCSE), with £1,000 towards the cost of developing a strategic brand identity.
The aim is for SCSE to spin out as a sister worker coop to Sailboat, which has been established for 10 years. Sailboat provides a range of learning activities - widening access to the sea, offering sail training onboard, navigation training on land. It aims to use these activities to increase confidence and a sense of well being among people living in marginalised coastal communities. Sailboat has doubled its level of regular contribution to the fund, and will treat 25% of the money as an interest-free loan.
Fund members also overwhelmingly supported a £500 contribution to Stir to Action's fire emergency appeal. Stir is not yet a coop, but in the words of Fund member Simon Ball, it is "a brilliant resource for worker cooperators. We should support them in their hour of need. The success of their campaign is simply a reflection of their importance to the movement, and we should be supporting them out of solidarity."
In October, Solidfund received a one-off donation of £1,225 from Cooperatives South East, a cross-movement regional network. Coops South East was a common ownership coop, meaning that on winding up their activities, the residual assets have been distributed within the coop movement. Among the five candidate organisations shortlisted to benefit, Solidfund came top in a members' ballot - a sign of growing recognition of the Fund's importance as a coop solidarity network. We are grateful to them.