Sumac Secondary Rules and Ethical Policies

The primary rules are the dry, legal ones we don’t choose; Secondary Rules are ones we write ourselves to govern ourselves. They were formally accepted at the Rainbow Centre AGM in 2012.

These rules are the guidelines to how we wish to exist, interact and behave within the Sumac Centre, we need to decide what our shared ideals are and it’s important that all those who come to the Sumac take part in their creation.

The Sumac Centre is governed by The Rainbow Centre Ltd.

Here is an extract from from the primary rules that govern The Rainbow Centre:


[3] The objects of the Co-operative shall be to carry on as a bona-fide co-operative society the business of
(a) providing accommodation, administration and information facilities for organisations and individuals working for peace, co-operation and social and environmental awareness.
(b) manufacturing or selling or hiring whether as wholesalers, retailers, agents or otherwise such other goods (or providing such service) as may be determined by General Meeting. In carrying out the aforesaid objects the Co-operative shall have regard to promote the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the Community and especially those who participate in the activities of the Co-operative by reason of employment within or purchasing from or selling to the Co-operative and to assist people in need by any means whatsoever.

[4] The Co-operative shall have power to do all things necessary or expedient for the fulfilment of its objectives.

Sumac Secondary Rules and Ethical Policies


1. Decisions are made by consensus through open, monthly meetings at the centre.
2. Sub-groups of the Sumac (eg. bar, cafe etc.) have autonomy to pursue their aims as long as there is no conflict with the aims and principles of the Sumac.

3. The centre is run on voluntary, non-hierarchical lines.

4. No political parties or organised religions are permitted to hold events or to promote themselves at the centre.

4. We will aim to encourage local involvement, and welcome all sections of the local community, as long as they respect the values of the Sumac.

5. All users of the centre should treat each other with respect.

6. All products sold at and/or by the Sumac will be vegan (ie. contain no animal products whatsoever). Vegetarian products may be consumed at the Sumac, but must be clearly labelled as non-vegan if present in public areas of the Sumac.


1. The Sumac will seek to minimise the environmental damage caused by it’s operations. In particular, materials will be recycled or reused whever possible, and organic waste composted on site. Waste reduction and reduced consumption is also an aim.

2. The Sumac will buy its supply from renewably-generated electricity.

3. The garden space will be managed according to organic principles, and used to demonstrate local food production.

4. We will move towards greater energy efficiency and environmental improvements to the building, where funds permit.

5. Any new-build projects or renovations are to be as ecologically sound as possible.


1. The following guidelines will be followed as far as possible when purchasing products for use or sale in the centre :

– Vegan and non-animal tested
– Fairtrade
– Organic / GM-free
– Non-toxic (eg. no aspartame)
– Locally-sourced

2. We will purchase goods and services from co-ops and other ethical groupos wherever possible.


1. One of the main functions of the Sumac is to promote, support and provide resources for, radical social change.

2. All member bodies of the Centre should be working for positive social change.


1. The public spaces of the Centre will be wheelchair-accessible. We will work towards accommodating other access issues, especially when undertaking new-build or renovation.

2. We aim to make the centre accessible to all regardless of culture, sex, race, sexuality, or other aspect of identity.


1. In the event of the Sumac making a financial surplus, it shall be used in one of the following ways :
– to improve the facilities of the centre
– as an interest-free loan to other Radical Routes Co-ops
– as donations to groups supported by the centre; donations to groups which find it hard to attract funds (eg activist groups) will generally be prioritised.

Allocation of these funds must be approved by a general meeting.

2.. Members which are groups should have a policy on dealing with any surpluses or profits which does not conflict with the aims and values of the Sumac centre.

Radical Routes and our secondary rules

Here is what Radical Routes requires:

Co-op Policies

All member co-ops should have their policy document (or secondary rules) posted on this part of the

Getting a decent set of secondary rules for your co-op is extremely hard. By publicising our rules in this way we can show each other how our individual co-ops are committed to staying radical and help each other by nicking the best bits of other co-ops rules.

Secondary rules perform an important function in a non-hierarchical organisation in that they help to
create a ‘level playing field’ for all members of the co-op. A good set of secondary rules lets all members know where they stand on issues that occur infrequently and can also act as a statement of intent. Additionally, a co-op that has a decent (and hopefully brief) set of secondary rules that all new members can relate to and take on as their own will have a greater protection against the co-op
loosing it’s radical edge as membership changes over the years.

All radical routes co-ops must form a set of policies addressing the following areas.

Policies governing the activities of the co-op members:

  1. Political and social change activity
  2. Low impact life style
  3. Members income
  4. Members savings
  5. Radical Routes participation.

Policies governing the running of the co-op:

  1. Investment in other co-ops
  2. Practical and financial support for radical non-hierarchical groups
  3. Ecology
  4. Ecological Impact
  5. Disability Access All member co-ops must submit their secondary rules (or policies) to be uploaded to the password
    protected members area of the Radical Routes website. When a member co-op changes their secondary rules (or policies) they must update the members area of the website with the change. Each policy document on the web-site will state when it was last updated. Members must include information about the policy changes in their quarterly report to Radical Rumours. They will also mention it in the Saturday morning business meeting go-round about work for Radical Routes in the last quarter. When 75% of radical routes co-ops have implemented the above we remove
    1) Section 6.1 and 6.2 (the two parts to the income rule)
    2) Section 7.1 (the bit about members, members are encouraged to invest
    in RR.) At that time we also add that joining Co-ops must include copies of their secondary rules along with their application to join in the agenda of their joining gathering (Transfered from mid-2014 discussion)
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