Wharf Chambers is a members’ club. This means to access or use our space you become a member [see the Membership page for more information]. Members of Wharf Chambers are able to use the space to socialise and book the events space for live music, club-nights, art events, film screenings, talks, workshops, meetings, and so on. Wharf Chambers members also have the opportunity to engage with the Club in a number of ways, including quarterly members’ meetings, emailing questions and concerns, participating in surveys and feedback and becoming a member of the Club Collective.
The Club Collective is a group of members of Wharf Chambers who volunteer their time to help run the Club. They are elected by the wider membership at an Annual General Meeting (AGM). The Club Collective support the club by dealing with membership disputes, assisting in developing processes and policies and creating opportunities for members to have a say. The Club Secretary also holds the license for the Club. You can find out more about the roles of the Club Collective through clicking here.
The day-to-day business and upkeep of the space is managed by a workers’ co-operative. These are paid staff who organise non-hierarchically between themselves. The Co-op are responsible for running the bar and the space, managing the finances, developing the space, the lease and physical upkeep of the space and for upholding the values and policies agreed between the membership of the Club. All Co-op members are by default members of the Club Collective. The Club Collective meets regularly to discuss the running and management of the space.
The values of the club are below in brief or can be read in full here.
Wharf Chambers is trying to be a safer space [please see the Safer spaces agreement for more information]
Wharf Chambers is trying to be accessible
Wharf Chambers is a not for profit organisation
Wharf Chambers does not believe in bosses. But it does believe in respect, cooperation and mutual aid
Wharf Chambers tries to be an open platform for its members
Wharf Chambers tries to be accountable to its members
Wharf Chambers tries to be fun
Why a members’ club?
Although it may at first glance sound a bit exclusive, the reason we are a members’ club is to encourage more participation and develop a sense of ownership and shared responsibility in the club. We believe that it is important to offer a space where culture and entertainment are more than just purely consumer or customer experiences. As a member you can help shape the activity that happens in the club and have a say in decisions that will make Wharf Chambers the place you want to it to be. Once a member; it’s your club!
That’s a bit strange isn’t it?
There’s a long tradition of members’ clubs, especially in the UK. Think about all the working men’s clubs, social clubs and even the local Co-op. All were formed on principles of self-management and co-operation so that their users had control over what was offered. As things become more privatised and market-led, it’s easy to forget that spaces like these exist in which we are invited to do more than just have a say with our wallets. Wharf Chambers Co-operative Club aims to create a society of active participants rather than passive consumers.
What’s required of members?
You can be as active as you like. We appreciate not everyone has the time or inclination to get fully involved, nor that all of our members live near by. 48 hours after you’ve paid your membership fee you’ll become a member and be able to collect your membership card from the club and be welcome to attend events and drink at the bar.
You’ll also be contacted by WCCC (if you want to be – you can also opt out) and invited to our members’ meetings. At these meetings you’ll get an update on the day-to-day operations of the club from the Co-op followed by an opportunity to discuss any upcoming events and opportunities for involvement, contribute ideas towards improving the club, and so on.
You can also join the Club Collective (see above).
So, hopefully you can see that there’s lots of different levels of involvement to suit your situation.
How do I book the space?
To book the space you first need to become a member. After that, you are able to use our function spaces. Our Bookings page gives more information on how to make a booking. All bookings are agreed upon by the Co-op who try to ensure they don’t conflict with the space’s values.
Who puts on events here?
Wharf Chambers is programmed by its members on a DIY basis. We try and provide an open platform for members to do things for themselves, rather than for profit. We think this is a special feature of our space and as such we welcome booking enquiries from our members and local communities. We’re not so keen to hear from big promoters.
Are there any rules or legal obligations as a member?
Your membership is not a legal contract, but you do have to abide by the rules and values of the space for continued membership of it. The Club has a set of formal rules, which you can see here. We also have a values statement and a safer spaces agreement which you should read before joining. The gist is that our members should share, promote and demonstrate the values of the club which are based in co-operation, mutual aid and self-management.
What if I or someone else breaks these rules?
Wharf Chambers has developed the Safer spaces agreement in order to adhere to its value of striving to be a safer space for everyone. When people break this agreement we take it seriously. Decisions on membership and bans to the space are made by the Club Collective. There is more information about how we deal with these situations in our Safer spaces agreement and our membership process maps. If you need any help or advice please email members[at]wharfchambers.org [please note this email account is monitored by several people]. We have developed some process maps to help people who are having membership issues, which you can take a look at here: membership process map
What will you do with the information I supply to become a member?
We have a data-protection policy and an encrypted database, and promise not to share your details or anything said and contributed to meetings outside of the club without prior consent.
What if I’m not yet a member?
You are able to attend licensed events at Wharf Chambers as a guest of a member. After that if you are interested in joining you can do so quickly, cheaply and easily on the Membership page. Come down and say hello and have a chat with the bar staff who can answer any more questions you might have.