It sounds as if the wonderful freecycle could be reaching the end of the road in the UK.
For the last umpteen years, it has been a model of green thinking, keeping things out of landfill, allowing people to offload surplus stuff while finding a new home at the same time.
Equally, it’s been a boon for people looking to start a new home, find something obscure or simply those who want to cut costs.
But it seems as if the American owners of Freecycle haven’t been particularly receptive to the way things are done in the UK.
This morning, I received a message from my local group moderators announcing their departure from the local group and the set-up of a new green recycling group that no longer trades under the auspices of Freecycle.
These people are volunteers, running the group without pay 24 hours a day, all out of the goodness of their own hearts, so it’s not an issue of pay.
Part of their message read as follows:
‘Leaders of Freecycle in the UK have spent more than two years talking with the main Freecycle Network (in the USA) trying to get the freedom to run things in a way more suited to how Freecycle works in the UK. So we can make it better for all of us.
Nothing has been changed.
Earlier this summer four leading members of the National UK Freecycle team resigned including the Director, in protest at the lack of change . Moderators around the country then formed an Independent Association of Moderators and AGAIN tried talking with The Freecycle Network. Hoping to negotiate and find a positive way to continue under the banner of Freecycle.
This has not been possible. We acknowledge that what Freecycle does in the community is great. We just don’t agree that we should be dictated to from across the Atlantic and adopt inappropriate policies. We think the members and moderators make Freecycle great.
There has now been multiple summary expulsions of moderators who have asked for change from Freecycle. All UK moderators have lost their freedom of speech within the organisation. So here in Xxxxxxx we have decided to go our own way along with the majority of other Freecycle UK groups.‘
From my experiences at AOL, I know that, while moderation is vital and guidelines and policies need to be in place, it is foolhardy to dictate to people who give up their own freetime for the good of others.
Their philanthropism will only stretch so far and eventually, as it seems with Freecycle UK, will vote with their feet.
This will be a shame, but hopefully these similar groups will continue to be as successful.
I’ve enjoyed using the services of Freecycle in the past and hope to make use of any new group who operates under the same principles. Good luck!