Since 1979, Birmingham Co-operative Housing Services (bchs) have developed more than 50 housing co-ops and community-controlled housing projects.
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Bordesley Green Housing Co-operative was formed in 1985 with flats built as accommodation for student nurses at Heartlands hospital. In 1990, the co-op went on to build 14 family homes in Carlton Road, Wyncliffe Road, Talfourd Street and Prince Albert Street. In 1999, the co-op also bought two houses in the Bordesley Green area, with Regency Close being built in the same year. The co-op now has a total of 44 homes and tenants organise their own repairs and maintenance service, control rent arrears, interview applicants, allocate houses and take an active part in the day to day running of the co-op.
Paddock Housing Co-operative is responsible for 46 properties in Walsall. It was formed in the 1980s by several families in Chuckery who were on the council waiting list for houses. The dedication of the ten families resulted in the building of the co-operative’s first houses, which were completed in 1989. A further development of 14 new homes was then completed in 1993, with an additional ten homes built in 1997 and the latest development completed in 2003.
Paddock is a very independent organisation and relies on member involvement to ensure the co-operative continues to thrive. Members organise their own repairs and maintenance service, control rent arrears, operate their own waiting list, interview applicants and allocate houses. Paddock members hold regular meetings to keep up-to-date with what is going on in their organisation and to address issues promptly. All new members are encouraged to get involved with the running of the co-operative and are offered training and support to do so. Paddock is proud to see the second generation of members helping to run the co-operative, with children of founder members being housed and playing their part in ensuring Paddock continues to meet the needs of its members and the local community.
Shajalal was originally founded 30 years ago by the Bangladeshi community in Aston and Saltley. The co-op in its present form came into existence just over 10 years ago when three Bangladeshi housing co-operatives merged to form Shahjalal, which now has 77 properties. The current committee aims to expand the scale and nature of the work of the co-operative while still having strong emphasis on serving the Bangladeshi community, but the co-op will draw in members of other communities and expand the areas in which it works. It will seek to extend the range of its housing provision to meet the needs of the elderly and to respond to the growing demand for home ownership. Shahjalal is controlled by its membership and aims to operate in a responsive and culturally sensitive way, meeting new challenges and responding to new opportunities.
South Road Co-operative currently has 34 homes in Lozells and Handsworth. The co-op was formed in the winter of 1980 by a group of tenants who wanted more control over their housing. They registered with the Housing Corporation and Registrar of Friendly Societies in 1981. South Road’s main aim at present is to re-house families in housing need, but the committee wish to re-house elderly and disabled people in the future.
Victoria is the largest of our co-ops with 132 homes in Bordesley Green, Small Heath and the surrounding areas. Victoria aims to house families in housing need within the area while managing good quality housing, treating members equally and ensuring everyone has an equal say. Members organise their own repairs and maintenance service, control rent arrears, interview applicants, allocate houses and take an active part in many other areas involved in the day to day running of the co-op. Members voluntarily control and maintain services to maximise the benefits for all tenants, and hold regular meetings to solve any issues faced by the tenants.
20/20 is a housing co-operative with 49 homes located primarily in Balsall Heath and Moseley, around which strong communities have developed. Members are a mixture of single persons and families and it is this diverse mix that has defined the community. The co-operative was formed in 1982 by a group of single people who wanted an alternative housing option to the predominant private rented options available in the area at that time. They developed the 20/20 over four years, with the first homes let in 1986. The co-op subsequently decided that some family homes were needed, which led to a large family development and the current community.
Alpha was founded in 1981. It holds 33 homes in Handsworth, to the west of the recently revamped Victoria Park. The bulk of its properties are located in Antrobus Road and Brunswick Road. The co-operative is dedicated to providing the best possible housing conditions for all its members. Alpha aims to take an active role within the local community by improving quality of life for its members. Its properties have state-of-the-art heating systems, double glazing, insulation and modern kitchens and bathrooms as standard. The maintenance, financial, and housing management services are all controlled by its members via a strong and well-informed committee, which meets on a monthly basis and is open to all members.