What’s been going at Wharf… (23/1/16)

Wharf Chambers is committed to working to improve our space and people’s experiences in it. There are two layers at Wharf Chambers who work together to run the space:

  • A co-op of paid staff who – staff the bar, order stock, clean, keep accounts, keep us safe and legal and do all the other things you need to do to run a business.
  • A small group of volunteers, the club collective (all members of the club), also work with the co-op to support them in their role of running Wharf, providing advice on staying safe and legal and listening to members about what they want from the space

Wharf Chambers comes from a long history of DIY organising in LS6 and beyond, and when we first started we ran off the good will of many staff and volunteers who made it happen through putting in loads of their time and energy for free. We are proud of the fact we can now offer sustainable employment to a number of people in the co-op, however as a developing business there are limits to our capacity. We recognise that the pace of change can sometimes feel slow but we’re all working hard behind the scenes to keep afloat whilst making improvements.

Together over the last year we have been working to process feedback received and make progress toward Wharf Chambers being a better space for its membership. Through this we have undertaken a development day with staff and club collective to work through feedback received and put in place actions to improve the space. Here is a snapshot of what we’ve been up to:

  • We’ve redeveloped the website this year and added loads more information about the space and the club and how to use it – have a read and if you have any questions either email us or speak to the bar staff
  • We’ve developed a set of values that we believe inform the way we run the space
  • We’ve reviewed and updated our safer spaces agreement
  • We’re working on our processes to ensure everything is in place for Wharf to flourish in the future, including reviewing our policies and business planning for the future
  • We are working on our processes to involve members including making a members’ handbook, setting up a plan for how we communicate with members and reviewing our members’ meetings
  • The co-op have responded to feedback and requests for meeting space by setting out on a new venture too: the Middle Floor. The Middle Floor will be run by the co-op and provide affordable and beautiful meeting space in the city centre
  • We’ll be holding an open day in spring to show people around the Middle Floor and invite people to find out more about the space and how you use it
  • We’re looking at our own skills and knowledge as a team and working to improve these through skill shares and workshops that we hope to extend to members too in the future

In terms of what happens at Wharf, it’s your club, you do the programming – you just need to be a member of the space and to adhere to its values and safer spaces agreement in order to book. We encourage bookings from any members and are committed to doing our best to help new promoters get involved – see our new promoters’ guide on our website or get in touch via bookings[at]wharfchambers.org

You can find out more about wharf on our website, through emailing us at membership[at]wharfchambers.org, following us on twitter, Instagram or facebook and through attending a members’ meeting.

Watch out for our annual members’ survey which should land in your email inbox in the next month and more regular updates to follow through email and this blog.

Thanks for your ongoing support of the space and we look forward to seeing you all soon.

Ellie, Co-Chair of Wharf Chambers Club Collective