Replication Project: Gólya from Hungary

coop in action

Gólya Cooperative, located in the 8th district of Budapest, has been founded 7 years ago by six young Hungarians with the aim of creating a community hub for youth built around cooperativism. It has started out as a bar and an open space and it quickly started growing by attracting many people with ideas for new initiatives (such as a kindergarten cooperative). In the third year of operation a kitchen was also started at the Cooperative. This dynamic growth meant that space was running out and in 2018 Gólya decided to buy large building to move there. After a lengthy and costly renovation with the help of many volunteers, the current building, named Kazán Community House opened in 2019 and houses 8 further allied organizations, mainly cooperatives and NGOs. These include a workshop cooperative for handicraft workers, a kindergarten cooperative, a cooperatively run gym, a community radio, a consumer cooperative, the largest Hungarian news site discussing topics from a workers’ perspective, an NGO focusing on housing issues and running a housing cooperative and another working on building homes for homeless people. Collectively, this new community of allied cooperatives and organizations has formed the Kazán Community House to further the issue of cooperativism and collaboration in Hungary together, both in spirit and by laying concrete institutional foundations.

By 2020, Gólya has 18 full members in the cooperative, a good proportion of them in their 20s, many of them having Gólya as the first workplace of their lives. For its members, Gólya means a supportive community of friends, a place of stability and a secure environment where they can grow and pursue meaningful interests. Currently Gólya is in the process of establishing new cooperative units for its diversifying activities. Already established units include a unit doing construction work both for customers and the Cooperative, a unit running the bar and organizing its events, and a courier unit doing deliveries by bike. The plan now is to found another unit, this time one that will run a kitchen at the Cooperative.

what we’d like to accomplish
A kitchen at Gólya will serve many needs: during the day it will provide healthy and ethically sourced meals at an affordable price for both people at Kazán Community House and people who live nearby. It will also serve people who come in the evening for the concerts and parties and it will make it possible to greatly extend the already running catering activity of Gólya at festivals and conferences.

Besides satisfying these very direct needs, a kitchen unit at Gólya would mean an opportunity for involved members to develop their professional lives and to diversify and enrich what the Cooperative can offer for new recruits. A key aspect of this idea is that a new kitchen unit at Gólya Cooperative will fit very well into an already existing ecosystem: our construction unit is fully capable of building up the required area, while our courier unit will be able to deliver its products to customers. Moreover, we intend to source as many of the ingredients as possible from Vörösbegy Consumer Cooperative.

The reasons for not starting this new unit so far have been purely financial. By undertaking the move to the new building, the Cooperative has chosen a manageable, but difficult and sometimes precarious path: it has to repay loans as fast as possible. This means that currently each major development at the Cooperative requires external funding to some extent. In the past Gólya has run several successful crowdfunding campaigns (e.g. for the building of a rooftop terrace), besides taking microloans from friends. These options, however, are limited and in the case of funding for the new kitchen they cannot be relied on completely. This is why Gólya decided to ask the help of the International Cooperative Alliance in making the necessary investments for the construction work of a new kitchen at the Cooperative.

Support needed

Based on our detailed estimates, a total sum of EUR 7,354 would enable us to build up the kitchen area completely.