About us

Our history

Everyone needs to wash their cloths in one way or another! 

This is why we wanted to create a space that was really useful and met vital needs of our community, but that also had lots of space to dream and reimagine! 

To get our idea for a community launderette off the ground it took around 3 years of engaging local people with our idea, researching and build a strong business plan, finding a premises and raising the money to invest in our equipment and get the space open. Kitty’s Launderette opened it’s doors to start washing in May 2019, and has been open 6 days a week ever since! 

Through collaboration, hard work, determination and creativity we have managed to build a special place for everyone in our neighbourhood. 

We have taken a very considered approach to building a self sustaining, locally rooted, environmental social enterprise with broad community impact. We have invested in creating a bespoke democratic governance structure, with the agency, equity, and shared future of a workers co-op, with the broader input and accountability of a community membership and non executive board, creating valuable experiences of meaningful participation and democracy. 

Our positive social impact

We work to make broad community impact in three key ways: 

  • Quality laundry services for everyone in our neighbourhood while supporting people in hygiene poverty, fuel poverty and financial hardship in particular. 
  • An accessible, welcoming social space for everyone in our diverse local community through a engaging program of social and creative activities.
     
  • Creating quality, flexible Real Living wage Jobs for people in our community, in particular those who may face additonal barriers to work. Meaningful democratic participation through our worker-community co-operative structure. 

Through member consultation we recently reviewed our mission and outcomes and added two more impact areas: 

  • Volunteering opportunities 
  • Sharing our model and learning with others 
Our democratic governance structure

Kitty’s Launderette is a worker-community co-operative. This democratic structure was chosen to reflect both the worker-lead nature of the organisation, while also enabling broader community input and accountability from a voluntary board.

The community board of Kitty ’s, is the committee of the co-op’s Directors. Directors are elected from time to time by the Members. Our Directors are answerable to Kitty’s Members, through the co-op’s General Meeting, which takes place once a year. (This is known as the AGM.) The boards job is to represent the interests of all members by making sure Kitty’s sticks to its mission, stays within the law and is run properly. 

In practice, the Board ‘lends’ a lot of its power and responsibility to the people running the co-op day to day – the worker team as they are on the ground, connected to the community and understand the business inside out. The Team can make decisions and put them into practice, as long as they’re in line with any policies that the Board has agreed. The Team develops Kitty’s business strategy and policies; the Board reviews and approves them.

The worker team is made of up local people who apply to join through regular open and inclusive recruitment processes. The worker team operates within a non-hierarchical/ flat structure, where we take collective responsibility over the running of organisation. All work is valued equally so workers are paid the same hourly wage, irrespective of age, experience or length of service. Kitty’s Launderette is a Real Living Wage Empoloyer and offers guaranteed hours to all workers. 

If you are interested to learn more or think a social launderette could work really in your community, please do get in touch by emailing admin@kittyslaunderette.org.uk