CoopNet is on a mission: to dignify and professionalise green cleaning.
We would like to introduce you to our new cleaning staff: CoopNet. It has not been easy for us to find a cleaning service that shares our values because unfortunately it is a fact that the average cleaning company that serves the hotel industry in Barcelona, more often than not treats their workers unfairly (no proper contracts, high pressure and low pay) and does not know how to (or doesn’t want to) work with eco-friendly products. We also realised that it was no longer viable to work with Passar Via, who offer work to people with mental illnesses, because it turns out that mentally unstable people need a very regular work schedule; something we can unfortunately not offer. Work days and hours need to be flexible in accordance to the bookings we receive.
To get to know CoopNet and their missions, we need to take you to the Sants neighbourhood with its strong industrial character, and the project Can Batlló. This is a is a former industrial complex that, after its days of glory during the industrial revolution in the 18th Century, the struggles during the Civil War and the crisis in the textile industry in the 1960s, became a sort of fenced of 81.000 m2 no man’s land in the hand of the City Hall, eventually to be taken back by the citizens. Since 2011 the neighbours are turning the grim area into an oasis of cooperation and social economy, creating a hub of social enterprises, gardens and co-housing to serve the locals.
Image of Can Batlló via bcnsostenible.cat
When Fernanda and Annuk, who both live in Sants, realised the potential of Can Batlló, they seized the opportunity to make their own dream come true: build a non-profit, cooperative managed school for kids aged 3 to 16, on the principles of self-management, equality and solidarity with the aim to offer a more personalised education in a climate of total acceptance, love and respect. Wow! However, since this will take a while to become a reality and the two women need to make a living meanwhile, they studied the necessities of the neighbourhood and realised that a lot of people needed an eco-friendly cleaning service as well as care taking of children and elderly people. Out of these needs CoopNet was born in 2018, offering just that.
CoopNet is a non-profit cooperative with the purpose of dignifying and professionalising what is often the work of women in our society: cleaning and caring. This is done by shining a light on these often overlooked and undervalued tasks and providing professional services to companies but also families without resources in the neighbourhood, while at the same time creating jobs that are fair and well respected. These jobs allow the founders to keep financing the making of their future school, the Arcadia of Can Batlló , and will offer more jobs to more people as they grow in a sustainable way.
What we also like about CoopNet is that they are as fanatic as us about eco-friendly cleaning products and their effectiveness. Fernanda, trained as a biochemist, is constantly trying out new ways to get our rooms spotless and odour-free. Plus they are feminists like us, and we mean this in a good way. Both CoopNet and yök are women-run entities that care about more than just making money.
We encourage you to visit Can Batlló, a side of Barcelona that is highly inspirational but does not necessarily appear in any tourist guides (like the fishermen’s port), yet! You can watch the different coops going about their work: some make furniture, others grow vegetables, there’s a library and a brewery amongst other things. You are welcome to try their locally brewed beer in the Espai d’Encontre cafe, or wander around the 18th Century industrial buildings with more and more greenery.