Funding Announcement


#3

Amazing


#4

Thank you for arranging this!


#5

If anyone has questions or ideas about how we should use this money, do fire away - but remember that we’re very unlikely to receive a donation this large again so we’d like to make this last and benefit as many people as possible.


#6

Spend some money promoting the Foundation, and thus all of its member Hackspaces?
Perhaps through some advertising and media exposure that individual spaces lack the skills, contacts, or money to achieve themselves.


#7

Well, first suggestion would surely have to be, put it somewhere where it will earn interest, while you/we decide exactly how/what to do with it. :grinning:


#8

This is amazing news!

I’d love to see some of this grant go towards helping hackspaces become more accessible to groups of people who are currently underrepresented in our community. This will have a great longterm impact (since engaging a wider demographic will help to make hackspaces more sustainable), and will help to spread the hackspace awesomeness even wider :smiley:


#9

Amazing news. Well done :slight_smile:


#10

Congratulations! Well done.


#11

Brilliant news - well done, good people.

My suggestion would be an Edinburgh-sized (1200 x 900mm) laser cutter for every Hackspace that ‘needs’ one. I suspect we’re not the only space where the laser cutter is one of the top attractions for new members.


#12

I’d rather see it as a fund for a startup kit, maybe working with some companies like RS, Rapid, Farnell to get the funding to go further by having in kind donations of tools as well, to make a Hackspace start up bundle or something?

But also keeping the organisation funded is important.


#13

Yes this! x100

I think a recurring posting the map in the Hackspace magazine could be a good idea.

Loads of tools or one laser cutter? Difficult to choose!

My ideas:

  • Helping smaller spaces that have a good growth pattern with a loan for the first few months of rent would be good, but after saying it sounds like a very labor intensive work for volunteers to manage by committee.
  • Travel expenses for a get together of reps of Hackspace foundation to take it forwards.

#14

Awesome, well done guys.

In terms of suggestions one that jumps out to me is perhaps loans towards sustainability:-

I think it could be useful (And provide legacy) for a funding body (UK Hackspace Foundation perhaps) to run a “Sustainable Hackspaces” loan fund. With an objective of maybe making match funded loans available to cover the deposit of an established hackspace that wanted to buy land/heritage buildings for themselves. Rental is so un-sustainably expensive and is dead money. We are finding this in our search for more space to bring on metal working space. Buying is more cost effective both in terms of monthly payments and long term investment. Once a mortgage is paid off the running costs (Bottom Line) of the Hackspace falls to something trivial, and the Hackspace is an appreciating asset.

I have been looking at the Ecology Building Society, https://www.ecology.co.uk/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxOb9jt2S3gIV2eFRCh3oUQfZEAAYASAAEgLZRfD_BwE. They claim to offer mortgages at 80% for bare land and heritage buildings (with planning permission) that need renovation. (BTW other lenders are available etc etc etc I am not endorsing this one merely offer up an exemplar)

It would be nice if the UK Hackspace Foundation could pull of a package like this with a mortgage lender including a matchfund loan to cover the 20% needed to secure the deal. The benefit of running this on a loan basis is the repayments make this an appreciating fund so that it can help out more Hacksapces over time than a grant system would.

Might also be worth looking at some of the Co-operative lenders too for this.


#15

Excellent idea, but are there many hackspaces that are going to commit to the number of years of planning applications and/or physically building a space that would be required?
A broader remit that allowed the Hackspace Foundation to buy the property and rent it back to the Hackspace concerned might work, while still providing the revenue for long-term benefit to the Foundation.
One obvious problem would be that this would only cover the cost of a few properties in the short-term. But long-term it could work well, East Street Arts-style.


#16

This is fantastic news!

We could certainly could do with a little funding to get everybody at Makers Central, pay for merchandising material etc! This massively promotes hackerspaces and makerspaces so I feel definitely worth a bit of money if its available.


#17

This is brilliant! And great suggestions from everyone already.

Would definitely support sponsored/subsidised kit (Especially Laser Cutter, we still haven’t gotten around to one after 7 years in Farset Labs because we’ve been shoe-stringing it all these years).

Also support sustainability loans; we’ve an opportunity to get the unit above us which is very daunting from a cashflow perspective but if it works would secure our place in the Belfast/NI tech ecosystem for many years to come!


#18

Just an update to say that we have finished the currency conversion and the total amount received was £230,728.12 net of fees - the exchange rate was averaged over three transfers approximately one week apart.

The bulk of the money is being moved to a 95-day notice savings account paying (currently) 1.6% interest.


#19

Oh… We could buy a freehold!


#20

It’s superb news. As I said in a tweet when you first announced it, we at LHS need funds to provide disabled access. We were forced to move from somewhere that did have access by a doubling of rent. We are now in a first floor old mill-type property. The problem with normal charities is that being a rented property, the ‘improvements’ benefit the landlord, so they are not too keen. I saw access mentioned above so others may be thinking along the same lines. Am also happy to get suggestions of other ways to raise the sort of money we need - of order £12000 - £15000 to provide an external inclined stair lift wheelchair platform.


#21

I am sympathetic to the cause (both accessibility issues and LHS’s move) but I don’t personally think that spending capital on fixing an issue with the building which you could get kicked out of with little notice (being a meanwhile contract) is a good use of LHS funds, let alone HSF funds.

In my view the money would likely be better spent trying to get LHS legal help and a deposit to get a commercial mortgage to get a permanent home that could be invested in.

I think we need to think strategically about how we spend the money to ensure long term benefit of the money. If we spend money fixing short term issues it will disappear over night. Using it to encourage more spaces, more collaboration, and investing in supporting older spaces like LHS to move into the next stage of a permanent home would be a useful process that would further the goals of HSF and be a learning process that could be documented for other spaces.

Also funding often begets more funding, we should think about this too?


#22

It’s going to be a little while until we start allocating grants, not least because we need to get the foundation itself shipshape first.

Assuming we go ahead with the provisional grant plan, we’ll be publishing full documentation on the application process, the kinds of things that the HSF will fund, and the maximum amounts we’re willing to fund by category. It is likely that we’ll go down the same route as many funding organisations and ask that a percentage of the funds from the HSF are fund-matched by the group requesting them.

Regarding @unknowndomain’s comment about funding; I’m going to be looking for potential grant organisations we can apply to for more funding. If we find any that look suitable, I’ll suggest that we hire a professional grant-writer using the funds we have - yes it’s possible for us to do it voluntarily, but it is a colossal amount of work and people who do this professionally substantially boost your chances. It’s possible I may be able to persuade someone to work pro bono, but no guarantees!

If anyone would like to help with that, let me know.


Budget Proposals