Repost from my Facebook page

I think this should be a matter of public record: (taken from my Facebook profile)

Last night, while I was out with Becki (whom I’ve barely seen in the last week because of work) I was removed from the Birmingham Freecycle group – the Group I’ve been a moderator of for the last 5 years.

There was no discussion on the local moderator support list, no warning, and no consultation with the members of the Group – the Group was simply snatched.

When you’ve been dealing with the same people for that long, you’d hope there would be some kind of insight and common respect, but it appears not...

Still, at least it means that Birmingham Freecycle is now off of Yahoo!Groups:

Tell your friends 🙂

(name removed)
The msg I saw on (what is now) Freegle is :

“The main reason for our move is simple. While Freecycle is a GREAT idea, all our UK groups were basically forced to work under a system devised in and for the United States. Leaders of Freecycle in the UK spent more than two years talking with the main Freecycle Network trying to get the freedom to run things in a way more suited to our own country and our own laws. Nothing changed.

In July four leading members of our National UK Freecycle team resigned. Moderators around the country then formed an Independent Association of Freecycle Moderators and again tried talks with The Freecycle Network. But again to no avail.

Since then an increasing number of Group Owners and Moderators have been SUMMARILY DISMISSED from Freecycle including the former UK Director of Freecycle UK.

So we have decided to go our own way.”

Yeah, that’s the standard ADMIN that Freegle have kindly provided.

The truth (and they so love to claim they know/report it) is that:

“the system devised in and for the United States” is actually devised in my conservatory and is for all Groups worldwide.

The ‘leaders of Freecycle in the UK’ basically have done sod all for the last two years. Neil Morris, the previous UK Director, was telling me *last year* that he was planning on stepping down and concentrating on his PhD – 12 months later, he hadn’t even bothered to create a job description for his replacement. He was also tasked to build a UK Leadership Team, to manage the work of The Freecycle Network in the UK – 6 months later, at the point of his public resignation, still nothing.

In July, four people did resign – Neil Morris and three of his sidekicks. Remember the month – in July, Neil Morris publicly resigned.

An Independent Association was formed – or rather, a vote was taken (I don’t think the results were ever actually published) and some moderators assumed control of this group. Attempting “talks with The Freecycle Network” is quite amusing – don’t forget, at this time there was *no* UK Director, hence no-one to talk *to*.

Now, back to the UK Director role – Neil Morris publicly tendered his resignation in July, but by the end of September had completely blocked any attempts to call a meeting of the UK charity trustees to accept his resignation. In the end, the meeting had to be called in his absence, and a special article in the terms of association invoked to finally be able accept his resignation and install a new UK Director.

Within *hours* of the new UK Director being announced, the Independent Association declared that they could no longer “work with The Freecycle Network” and would be creating a new umbrella organisation for Groups to move to. Once again, not exactly making an effort there, are they? When they finally have someone official to deal with, instead they decide to create split.

The “increasing number of Group Owners and Moderators” that were “SUMMARILY DISMISSED” were, in fact, the leaders of the Independent Association, who were asked to step down from running Freecycle Groups *after* they had publicly announced their intention to create a split. Not hard to see the conflict of interest there, is it?

And my favourite bit: “including the former UK Director of Freecycle UK”. Let’s make this perfectly clear:


Exactly how can you dismiss someone who has resigned? My personal belief is that Neil Morris was pissed off that The Freecycle Network actually accepted his resignation.

The real fact is that this has been a power grab that’s been a long time planned, based on FUD generated by the Independent Association (now the leaders of the new network). They’re now sniping Groups from The Freecycle Network, based on the self-fulfilling prophecy that they themselves created.

In some ways, painful though this has been, this has actually been a positive thing for The Freecycle Network. The UK now has a new Director (based in Wolverhampton, actually :)) who’s actually getting things done, and the people who were holding the UK back with their inaction and conspiracy theories have left. Trying to take a positive view of the past weeks events, a massive thorn has been pulled from the side of The Freecycle Network, and though there’s been a lot of healthy flesh taken with it, The Freecycle Network will survive, and be stronger for it.

Without wishing to spread rumours, I hear the the Edinburgh Freecycle Group, similarly hijacked, is starting to revolt against their move, which was also made without notice and consultation from the Group members. It would appear that the new network themselves exhibit the control freak behaviour that they’ve ascribed to The Freecycle Network – the more things change, the more they stay the same.


  1. Post

    Okay, I’ve been corrected – the new UK Director is based in Dudley, not Wolverhampton. At least I got the accent right! 🙂

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