SolidFund has voted to donate £3,750 to Creative Workers Co-operative (CWC) to help with the purchase of video production equipment.
CWC have been members of SolidFund for 3 years, and running since 2012, providing graphic design, web design, photography and film services to various co-operatives, NGOs, public bodies and the private sector. They have also done free work for Rally For Choice, Reclaim the Agenda, Thart Aris Co-operative, Loveworks Co-operative and Belfast Cleaning Society.
In six years of trading, CWC have grown steadily, creating employment for three members and casual work for up to 6 people every year. They have never had any external funding for equipment, and have financed it through work brought into the co-operative. Due to the expansion of work, there has been a huge increase in providing film services, but renting equipment was costing £4,000-5,000 per year. To buy this equipment, would cost approximately £6,000. Owning the equipment would mean lower costs for their customers, such as other co-operatives and groups with small budgets. Usually rental costs would mean that the scope of the service is limited to the size of a customer's budget, which can make positive social campaigns suffer. For example, when doing work for Rally For Choice, CWC only charged for equipment rental, and carried out all labour free of charge.
The support proposal was made by Belfast Cleaning Society, whose members were also among the Fund's early subscribers. A simple donation for capital spending is a first for the Fund, and before it was agreed, a number of other options were discussed, such as offering an interest-free, soft repayment loan.