Grassroots co-operatives come to the fore

As Co-operatives UK chair Ed Mayo frequently stresses, the Co-operative Group is just one large segment of a 6000 strong movement, which was – we add – over-shadowed by the hubristic posturing of a few executives.

co-op wm logoBefore looking at the growth of grass-roots co-operatives in the Manchester area, prompted by Paul Gosling’s recent article in the Co-operative News, Phil Beardmore sends information about a student housing co-operative launched in Birmingham.

“The Birmingham Student Housing Co-operative was launched on Friday 27 June, the first day of Co-operative Congress.

student housing coop house

“The launch event, held at the Co-op’s first home in Selly Park, was attended by representatives from across the Co-operative movement.

“Guest speaker was Dame Pauline Green, President of the International Co-operative. Attendees also heard from Sean Farmelo on behalf of the student co-operative about their journey from having a good idea to being able to take on the lease of the house and begin recruiting tenants. It is the first new housing co-operative in Birmingham for more than two decades”.

student housing coop openingThe nine bedroom property was purchased by the Phone Co-op and  leased to the members of the housing co-op, where they will be able to make democratic decisions about their living space without a landlord.

Phil adds that housing management services will be provided by BCHS, an agency providing services to housing co-ops in the West Midlands which has developed more than 50 housing co-ops and community controlled housing projects since 1997. Read more about BCHS here.

Volunteers sought

Belatedly we report that there is still much work to be done on the house. As well as decorating all the rooms, they need to put up a partition wall in the living room to make the 8th bedroom.  Over the summer, members of the Birmingham Students Housing Co-operative would appreciate the assistance of anyone who has some free time and wants to come and visit.


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