Pete Tatham – pay your mortgage on 30 hours a week

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In this podcast I had a chance to chat with Pete Tatham who works for Hyde Park Source in Leeds

From their website:

We work with local communities to improve their surroundings, designing and creating attractive, exciting, safe and useful places for people to live, work and play.

Pete is part of a team of six, four full time, and two part time employees. The company is run as a worker cooperative with very slight differences in renumeration. Two things that stand out, is that the structure of the coop does not include management. This is provided by the community in the form of nine volunteer board members – sort of like governors at your child’s school.

What appeals to me in their set up is that the structure provides a bridge which allows to “compost” money – the lifeblood of our (capitalist) economy, and turn it into social value for local residents. At the same time, the people who work at Hyde Park Source are able to pay their mortgages, on, wait for it, THIRTY HOURS PER WEEK!

If you are part of a community group that does similar work, and struggle, this might be just the interview for you. We go over in detail, a strategy for starting a group from scratch, through ways to get funded, and ending up on how to run a successful community interest company.

As always, these conversations are real. Pete was at home looking after his little son, who at times joined us in the chat – which was really cool.

Learning points:

  • design pallet when going to the client, to perform aspirations / limitations analysis, yes/no/maybe, etc
  • to begin – find unused land, and a few people wanting to do something with it – when starting from nothing
  • with an established group, especially one with a bank account, look to the national lottery to secure core funding, and work from there.
  • when working with other suppliers, get them to invoice the client directly to avoid legal complications in case something goes wrong.
  • connections and reputation is key, and so is being in constant contact with all relevant organizations in the area.

Look them up on their Facebook page

Music used: Luxe by Jahzzar is licensed under a Attribution-ShareAlike License.


This is a fledgeling project, that is taking a considerable amount of time, and a little bit of money. If you found this informative, entertaining, helpful, and think that it could help someone else, please share using the buttons below. Many thanks!

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