Category Archives: Co-Operatives

ColaBoraBora: Redefining the ‘WHATS’ transforming the ‘HOWS’

Rosa from ColaBoraBora has prepared the below blog for us in advance of her workshop session at our conference ‘Mutual Benefits: Building a Co-operation Between Wales and the Basque Country’. She talks about the interesting ethos of ColaBoraBora, interlinking the community and the private sector, and the projects they have worked on so far…

As this a Basque conference, this blog has been published in both English, Basque and Welsh.

ColaBoraBora is a cooperative of social initiative, dedicated to designing services and helping create environments and processes of collaborative innovation that focus on people. We help different types of clients to imagine possible and desirable future situations so as to produce new opportunities in times of changes. Additionally, we are also with them to help them put them into practice successfully. Our work is based on paying the same attention to the WHAT (pursued challenges) as to the HOW (how to approach them).

Proponemos nuevos sistemas y metodologías para abordar retos relacionados con la innovación estratégica, organizativa y social. Trabajamos principalmente en proyectos donde se interrelacionan lo público, lo comunitario y lo privado.

Nuestra propuesta de trabajo se sitúa a medio camino entre lo cultural, lo social, lo económico y lo político, abordándolo desde unas perspectivas CO- y TRANS-. Ofrecemos un mix de servicios a medida, basados en la combinación de diversas maneras de hacer, entre la investigación, la consultoría, el diseño, el acompañamiento y la formación. El objetivo es aplicar la creatividad desde la inteligencia colectiva, para pasar de lo abstracto a lo concreto, desarrollando las ideas en forma de productos, servicios y experiencias tangibles.

En ColaBoraBora somos una pequeña tribu de personas entusiastas y críticas, curiosas y comprometidas. Un grupo con formaciones y experiencias diversas (artes, diseño, economía, sostenibilidad, facilitación de procesos, marketing…). Un equipo de profesionales que trabajamos de manera transdisciplinar, remezclando prácticas y saberes.

Diseñando para el bien común

En ColaBoraBora entendemos el diseño como un conjunto de procedimientos para crear soluciones y abordar oportunidades, mediante una planificación y organización diferencial, significativa y eficiente de recursos, procesos, infraestructuras y/o personas. Perseguimos un diseño transformador, un diseño libre y abierto, un diseño para todas, que se sigue preguntando sobre cómo vivimos y cómo podríamos vivir. Un diseño orientado a la comunidad, entendida como un grupo social en un contexto situado, con ciertas características u objetivos compartidos, ya sea esta una empresa, un vecindario, un grupo de usuarias, un gobierno, etc.

Un diseño, en el que los QUÉs y los CÓMOs, atienden a la cada vez más pertinente idea de bien común, desde el procomún y de forma comunitaria.

  • Bien común, un antiguo concepto filosófico, político y económico, que se refiere a aquello que es compartido y beneficioso para el conjunto de los miembros de una comunidad. El bien común es expresión de la voluntad colectiva, se logra a través de una participación co-responsable y puede disfrutarse tanto individual como colectivamente.
  • Procomún (del término anglosajón commons), un modelo de gobernanza de los bienes comunes. La manera de producir y gestionar en comunidad bienes y recursos tangibles e intangibles, que nos pertenecen a todas, o mejor, que no pertenecen a nadie, como por ejemplo: las semillas, internet, el folclore, las lenguas, el agua potable, el genoma o el espacio público. Gracias a la ética hacker y las licencias libres, el procomún se hace extensible a cada vez más ámbitos vitales a través del diseño de productos y sistemas libres y abiertos.
  • Auzolan, una forma propia de trabajo vecinal en beneficio de la comunidad, basada en la co-responsabilidad, la participación y la colaboración comunitaria. Además de servir para el mantenimiento y desarrollo de recursos comunes, contribuye a fortalecer el sentimiento de pertenencia, la confianza y el reconocimiento entre los miembros de la comunidad.

We put forward new systems and methods for addressing challenges related to strategic, organisational and social innovation. We primarily work on projects where the public, the community and private sectors are interlinked.

Our work proposal is situated midway between the cultural, the social, the economic and the political, addressing it from a CO and TRANS perspective. We offer a mix of tailor-made services, based on a combination of various means, such as research, consulting, design, support and training. The objective is to apply creativity through collective intelligence, to move from the abstract to the concrete, developing ideas in the form of products, services and tangible experiences.

ColaBoraBora are a small tribe of enthusiastic, critical, curious and engaged people. A group with diverse training and experience (arts, design, economics, sustainability, facilitating, marketing etc). A team of professionals who work in a transdisciplinary way, remixing practices and knowledge.

Designing for the common good

At ColaBoraBora, we think of design as a set of processes for creating solutions and addressing opportunities, through distinctive, significant and efficient planning and organisation of resources, processes, infrastructures and/or people. We strive for a transformative design, a free and open design, a design for all, which continually questions how we live and how we could live. A community-orientated design, understood as a social group in a situated context, with certain characteristics or shared objectives, whether it is a company, a neighbourhood, a user group, a government, etc.

A design in which the ‘WHATS’ and the ‘HOWS’ address the increasingly pertinent idea of the common good, through a pro-common and collective way.

  • The common good, an ancient philosophical, political and economic concept which refers to that which is shared and beneficial for all the members of a community. The common good is an expression of the collective will, it is achieved through co-responsible participation and can be enjoyed both individually and collectively.
  • Pro-common (from the Anglo-Saxon commons), a governance model of the commons. The way to produce and manage tangible and intangible goods and resources in a community, that belong to all of us, or rather, belong to no-one, for example: seeds, internet, folklore, languages, drinking water, the genome or the public space. Thanks to hacker ethics and free licences, the pro-common is extended to more and more vital areas through the design of free and open products and systems.
  • Auzolan, a form of ‘neighbourhood work’ for the benefit of the community, based on co-responsibility, participation and community collaboration. As well as providing the maintenance and development of common resources, it helps to strengthen the feeling of belonging, trust and recognition amongst the members of the community.

A little bit of what we have done so far:

A lo largo de nuestra trayectoria hemos diseñado y desarrollado infinidad de proyectos; desde la facilitación de pequeños procesos puntuales, al diseño y puesta en marcha de proyectos de larga duración con una gran complejidad e implicando a numerosos agentes. A continuación enumeramos una selección de proyectos, que sirva para ilustrar nuestro trabajo

  • Diseño de entornos para la innovación ciudadana y emprendimiento social como HARROBItik HARROBIra con BilbaoEkintza, El Far con BarcelonaActiva, What if…? con ZaragozaActiva o #1CeS1FINDE con el Ayuntamiento de Sant Boi.
  • Programa de formación sobre emprendimiento social colectivo para mujeres en situación de vulnerabilidad Juntas Emprendemos, con la Diputación de Bizkaia en el marco de RedKOOP.
  • Conceptualización, diseño y puesta en marcha del Centro de Innovación Social EUTOKIA con Bilbao Ekintza.
  • Diseño y puesta en marcha del programa Bherria, impulsado por el Gobierno Vasco y dirigido a fomentar nuevas formas de participación y relaciones entre la administración pública y las iniciativas ciudadanas.
  • Conceptualización y el diseño del programa cultural la Capital Cultural Europea DSS2016EU con el Ayuntamiento de Donostia.
  • Puesta en marcha de la red social de crowdfunding Goteo como parte de la Fundación Goteo, de su nodo local GoteoEuskadi con a Irekia del Gobierno Vasco, así como las convocatorias dirigidas específicamente a proyectos de salud CROWDSASUNA con a Innobasque.

Participamos impartiendo conferencias o talleres en numerosos foros como TED x Madrid, NESI Forum, Labmeeting, Open Design Conference, Librecon, Arquitecturas Colectivas, Think Commons, Zinc Shower, etc.

Formamos parte activa de numerosas redes y grupos de trabajo colectivo entre las que destacan: Wikitoki, laboratorio de practicas colaborativas; KARRASKAN, red vasca para la innovación en cultura y cultura de la innovación; Eiken+, cluster de las industrias creativas de Euskadi; REAS, red estatal de economía alternativa y solidaria; Goratuz, red de cooperativas pequeñas de Bizkaia; Innobasque, red vasca para la promoción de la innovación; o Espacio Plaza / Sarean, asociación para el desarrollo comunitario desde la acción cultural en el barrio de San Francisco (Bilbao).

Throughout our history, we have designed and developed a wide variety of projects; from the facilitation of small specific processes, to the design and implementation of long-term projects with great complexity and involving numerous parties. A selection of projects, which serve to illustrate our work are mentioned below:

  • Design of environments for citizen innovation and social entrepreneurship such as HARROBItik HARROBIra with BilbaoEkintza, El Far with BarcelonaActiva, What if…? with ZaragozaActiva or #1CeS1FINDE with the city council of Sant Boi.
  • The training programme on collective social entrepreneurship for vulnerable women Juntas Emprendemos, with the provincial council of Bizkaia as part of RedKOOP.
  • Conceptualisation, design and implementation of the Social Innovation Centre EUTOKIA with Bilbao Ekintza.
  • Design and implementation of the programme Bherria, launched by the Basque government and aimed at fostering new forms of participation and relations between public administration and citizen initiatives.
  • Conceptualisation and design of the cultural programme, European Cultural Capital DSS2016EU with the city council of Donostia.
  • The setting up of the crowdfunding social network site, Goteo as part of the Goteo Foundation, of its local host, GoteoEuskadi, with the Basque government, Irekia, as well as the calls directed specifically to health projects CROWDSASUNA with Innobasque.

We take part in lectures or workshops in numerous forums such as TED x Madrid, NESI Forum, Labmeeting, Open Design Conference, Librecon, Collective Architectures, Think Commons, Zinc Shower, etc.

We are an active part of numerous networks and collective work groups, amongst which are: Wikitoki, a laboratory of collaborative practices; KARRASKAN, the Basque network for innovation in culture and culture of innovation; Eiken +, a group of creative industries within the Basque Country; REAS, a state network for alternative and solidarity-based economy; Goratuz, a network of small cooperatives in Bizkaia; Innobasque, a Basque network for the promotion of innovation; or Espacio Plaza/Sarean, an association for community development based on cultural action in the San Francisco neighbourhood (Bilbao).

The Mondragon cooperative experience

In advance of our upcoming #WAOBasque conference in partnership with the Wales Co-operative Centre, Fred Freundlich from Mondragon University has written a blog explaining the background of the University and its role in the Mondragon group…

mondragon-logoHello from Mondragon University in the Basque Country. Two of us from the University, Leire Uriarte and Fred Freundlich, will be holding workshops at the upcoming Mutual Benefits Conference and we wanted to talk a bit here about the University and its role in the Mondragon group, since our time at the Conference will be limited.

For those unfamiliar with the word “Mondragon”, it is the name of an industrial town in the Basque province of Gipuzkoa, where a large network of successful worker cooperatives began in the 1950s and has continued to prosper up to the present day. The group took on the name of the town, Mondragon, and it now involves about 100 worker-cooperative companies in advanced manufacturing, retail, banking, technology R&D and other services.

What does the University have to do with all this?

In short, it gave birth to the co-op group. The whole Mondragon cooperative experience grew out of initiatives in education, including the University. A Catholic priest named Arizmendiarreta arrived in Mondragon in 1941 and immediately decided that a large part of his mission should focus on education, sadly lacking just after the Spanish Civil War. He created a small technical school in 1943, but also started all kinds of other educational projects, formal and informal, with children and adults, in classrooms and in the community. It was often just as much community organizing as it was education, but, in any case, all this activity was crucial to Mondragon’s later success.

The technical-vocational college he created was recreated in later years in nearby towns for clerical and  bookkeeping studies and then also for teachers and, out of these colleges, three centers of higher education emerged in the 1960s and 70s in engineering, business and education. For a couple of decades these three centers collaborated more or less loosely, but then in 1998 they joined forces to create Mondragon University and a fourth center was formed later.

Today, Mondragon University has four faculties (Engineering, Business, Gastronomic Scences and Humanities & Education) where about 4800 students are completing vocational-college, university or postgraduate degrees. They can choose to study from among various specialties of engineering, business, entrepreneurship, gastronomy/culinary arts, audiovisual communication or three subfields in education. Each faculty has its “story” and relevance to Mondragon, of course, but the Faculty of Humanities & Education might also be interesting to Wales for a particular reason: the Basque language, “Euskara”. The teachers college was formed in the mid-1970s to help train primary and secondary teachers to work in Basque, as one of many efforts in the Basque region undertaken to revitalize the language.

The university’s role is, in certain ways, different from that of conventional universities, given its very close relationship to Mondragon’s cooperative businesses. The first Mondragon cooperative was formed by five graduates of the initial technical school and many later cooperatives were created and staffed by Mondragon University graduates. The University is tightly integrated into the Mondragon group and central to its mission are:

  • knowledge transfer, that is, helping organizations innovate in product and process technologies; in work, management and ownership, and in teach and learning methods; as well as…
  • preparing students with the practical knowledge and social competencies to become effective worker members of the companies in the group or teachers in regional schools.

MU graduates are certainly free to go to work for conventional companies or schools and its professors work with conventional as well as cooperative organizations in knowledge transfer projects. Still, MU is an integral member of the Mondragon network and its central focus is to contribute to cooperative community and economic development in the region by collaborating with companies and schools on applied projects, providing them with skilled graduates and promoting entrepreneurship in business and education.

The University pursues this mission in different ways. FIRST, it is itself a cooperative organization. The faculties are legally structured as nonprofit educational cooperatives and together they form the second degree co-op that is the University. Each faculty has three constituencies (staff, students and “collaborating members” — local companies, town authorities, etc.) and each constituency has one third of the votes in cooperative governance bodies (General Assembly and Governing Council).

A SECOND strategy to fulfill this mission focuses on teaching and learning methods that are very applied and often group-based: students do extensive problem-based, project-based learning in groups, grappling with how to address practical issues in collaborative teams.

THIRD, students must complete multiple placement experiences over the four years, working and frequently doing couse work in local co-operatives. The idea is to for the university to be as close to the companies as possible.

FINALLY, the university tries to encourage cooperative values. This is maybe our hardest task, both in terms of doing it well and in terms of knowing how well it is working. One cannot “teach” values in a traditional classroom format and one cannot evaluate them with an examination. Despite the diverse obstacles, a variety of activities are organized, inside and outside the classroom, so that students and professors can … not teach… but question, debate, discuss etc. … and that way help each other learn the values that should underlie a successful enterprise whose ownership is widely shared and whose decisions should be made in participatory ways. This “values education” has been a perennial challenge for Mondragon University, in fact, for all the Mondragon co-ops, and is sure to remain one of our most important and trying undertakings.

MONDRAGON Corporation – 2018 – English – Inglés – Anglais – Englisch – Ingelesa – Inglese – Inglês from MONDRAGON Corporation on Vimeo.

That’s all for now. We look forward to talking with you all about it at the upcoming conference on Tuesday 4 December.

We would also like to invite you to listen in to the webinar on the afternoon of 3 December – Can the social economy save us? What can Wales learn from the Basque experience?

Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog

cwmni bro

Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog is a pioneering development in Wales; a network of successful community enterprises which have come together to co-operate under the banner of one overarching community company.

The company operates in the communities of Blaenau Ffestiniog, Trawsfynydd and Penrhyndeudraeth and nearby villages, which between them have a population of about 8,000 people. Blaenau Ffestiniog was the second largest town in north Wales in 1900 with a population of about 13,000 people, but as the slate industry declined the population had more than halved by the year 2000. Blaenau Ffestiniog is now one of the economically poorest areas in the United Kingdom. Despite the de-industrialisation a cultural legacy survives, upon which an integrated and holistic model of community development is being pioneered by Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog.

There are more social enterprises per head of the population in Bro Ffestiniog than anywhere else in Wales. Thirteen of the area’s social enterprises have come together under the banner of Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog. The members are:

Antur Stiniog     www.anturstiniog.com

Barnardos    www.barnardos.org.uk/cabanbach.htm

Cyfeillion Croesor     www.orielcafficroesoratcnicht.co.uk

CellB/Gwallgofiaid    www.cellb.org

Cwmni Opra Cymru    www.opra.cymru

Deudraeth Cyf.    www.deudraethcyf.org.uk

GISDA    www.gisda.org

Seren    www.seren.org    Gwesty Seren www.gwestyseren.org

Pengwern Cymunedol www.ypengwern.co.uk

Trawsnewid

Y Dref Werdd www.drefwerdd.cymru

Ysgol y Moelwyn/Canolfan Hamdden sg@moelwyn.gwynedd.sch.uk

The diverse activities of these ventures include running two hotels, shops, restaurants, cafes, tourist information centre, leisure centre, arts and crafts workshop, mountain biking centre, retail, horticulture, energy production projects, developing allotments, educational and cultural activities, opera, environmental projects, energy saving promotion, reducing food waste, recycling, river cleaning, work with adults with supplementary needs, youth work including to do with homelessness and teaching environmental and media skills.

The company’s aims are to promote co-operation between the constituent social enterprises, nurture new social enterprises and work with small business enterprises which are anchored in the community. All of this is in order to promote the environmental, economic, social and cultural development of the area.

Between them, Cwmni Bro’s members employ some 150 people. A recent analysis of their economic impact showed that a high percentage of their income comes from trading. Further, this income largely stayed and circulated in the area. For every pound received as a grant or loan, a significant proportion, 98 pence, was spent locally, mainly on wages. Of the 1.5 million pounds spent on wages 53% is retained locally. Nearly half the expenditure on goods and services was local and thus circulated money in the area.

In August 2018, a new venture was launched, BROcast Ffestiniog, a community digital broadcasting service, aimed at facilitating communication between the social enterprises and the community and within the community (See BROcast Ffestiniog-YOUTube and facebook.com/BROcastFfestiniog ).

The integrated and holistic model of community development which Cwmni Bro is pioneering offers a pattern which other communities can emulate. Cwmni Bro resonds positively to invitations to visit other communities to explain what has been achieved in Bro Ffestiniog and to discuss the general potential of this model of community development.

The model presents a challenge to government in Wales; to develop policies and appropriate support in order to facilitate the adoption of this model of community development across Wales.

CONTACT

Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog, 49 Stryd Fawr, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd. LL41 3AG

CwmniBro@CwmniBro.Cymru      07799 353588

Loftus Village Association

Alison and Bron from Pobl Group have blogged for us ahead of our Building Resilient Communities event on the Loftus Village Association – an intentionally created community that they have been a part of from the beginning.  Come and join us at the event to find out more about the successes and challenges that this community, and Pobl, have had during their journey together.

The Loftus Village Association journey began in 2014 when Charter Housing (now Pobl Group) began the process of trying to find 19 households keen to move into Loftus Garden Village under a shared ownership scheme, and also at the same time to become co-operators.

It was a curious top down approach to setting up an intentional community.

Generally speaking Co-housing projects begin with a group of people who for various reasons want to share space and some time together, whereas we had the homes, but no people!

We had carried out some market research and identified a group of people who were interested in the idea back in 2012/13.  So we began contacting those folk, and interestingly one of those did see the idea through to the end, and 6 years on is now on the Co-op’s management committee.

A lot of people liked the idea of living in Loftus Garden Village.  It’s a particularly beautiful new housing development, and that wasn’t a hard sell.

Also most people liked the idea of living in a street where they know all their neighbours before moving in, had a sense of community, felt safe and enjoyed  living in a visually attractive environment…..so ‘Greener, Cleaner, Leaner‘ living soon became LVA’s values.  However it was all the legal/financial paraphernalia that went with it that many found a stumbling block.

Finding a financial and legal model was a headache for Pobl as an organisation and also for our would-be co-operators.  We examined a few legal and financial models before coming up with a version of our own that felt right for us and also the co-operators.  That done the co-operators had many months of working together to draft a management agreement, as well as months of training sessions on how to work together co-operatively.   The management agreement has given the Co-op the responsibility of collecting the rent, being involved in resales and ‘staircasing up’ (to own a higher percentage) and taking on the early stages of any neighbour complaints.  (none so far).

We lost people, we gained people and eventually ended up with 19 households comprising a complete mix of ages, numbers, and backgrounds.  For some it was their first home of their own.  Being a member of the Co-op meant that you could buy with only a 30% share, making it more affordable than most shared ownership schemes.  For others they were starting out again after changes in circumstances, and for some it was a home for retirement.

To keep morale going while waiting for the builders to ‘hurry up and get on with it’ our co-operators enjoyed fun tasks like choosing their kitchen and bathroom, tiles and flooring, discussing what to do with their community garden and building  (a garage), and generally getting to know one another.

There was an application system to ensure we found people who did genuinely want to be part of a community and support one another, rather than just live in a nice house. Would be co-operators had to fill in a section asking them to indicate how much time they could offer each week or month.

Two years ago the street moved in…bit by bit, with great excitement.  There was a huge amount of camaraderie with lots of ‘lending a hand’ with the trials of moving in.

The Co-op has achieved a beautiful community garden, two shared spaces, an office and a garage where garden tools are stored and kept.  They have held numerous social get togethers (often involving the wider community), including Carols by the Christmas Tree, Halloween, Easter celebrations, a Play Street event, where the road was closed for children to play.  Household costs i.e. boiler servicing and energy charges, are reduced via collective bargaining, and they have a reduced Carbon footprint from other streets by sharing power tools.

They have just held their third annual general meeting.  It hasn’t been a bed of roses, and it won’t ever be.  They complain about one another sometimes, complain about Pobl, and generally don’t really want to do the boring stuff.

But they are a community, and they certainly appreciate the power of that, and wouldn’t want to change it.

Wales Co-Operative

Casey Edwards @casey_walescoop from the Wales Co-Operative Centre @WalesCoOpCentre has blogged for us about how housing co-operatives are helping to build resilient communities.  The North Wales leg of our #WAOADM event is next week.

No two housing co-operatives are the same; it’s not a one size fits all approach. Co-operative housing is about communities having democratic control over decision-making about their homes, neighbourhoods and communities. It is a flexible and innovative approach to ways in which we meet the housing needs and the aspirations of local neighbourhoods. Co-operatives can be developed in either new or existing housing and can cover a range of tenancies.

The Co-Operative Housing Project was established in 2011 and is managed by the Wales Co-Operative Centre, and supported by the Confederation of Co-Operative Housing. The project has helped to deliver over 130 homes across Wales and is supporting the delivery of many more by developing expertise in different co-operative models and providing advice to developers and co-operative groups.

I joined the Wales Co-Operative Centre in May 2017 as the project advisor and have realised it takes a lot of hard work from a lot of people to get these schemes ‘shovel ready’. All of the housing schemes have developed in contrasting ways and adopted different models, from the different ways in which schemes were instigated and funded; how individuals came to be involved; to the size, nature and tenure of the housing co-operative. So does all of this hard work actually pay off?

Being part of a housing co-op is about more than just having an affordable roof over your head. It is about being part of a support system, helping yourself but also taking the responsibility to help others in the wider community. Read about how Luana, at Loftus Village Association, is helping to bring the community together through organising events and social activities.

Examples like this also show how living in a housing co-op can also help to tackle isolation and loneliness, especially amongst the vulnerable and the elderly. Co-operative communities form close bonds and look after one another; that feeling of being part of a community which is hard to come by in the 21st century. Haydn from Old Oak Co-Operative shows how being involved in the co-op has helped him grow in confidence and take on responsibility within the community.

Living in a diverse, supportive community also gives people the chance to share knowledge and skills with each other, that maybe they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn living in more traditional environments. As part of the development of the co-op, tenants are involved in a rigorous training programme which includes topics such as co-operative principles, governance and housing management. They learn new transferrable skills which can help them improve their employment status or give them the confidence to change career. Our scheme Ty Cyfle is empowering young people to manage their housing independently, learning new skills along the way.

This self-help and self-responsibility approach to addressing housing need is having a much bigger impact than just providing affordable homes, it is creating self-sufficient, resilient and healthy communities, which can reduce the demand on wider support services.

Living in a community-led housing scheme can offer the kind of support that public services are increasingly finding it difficult to provide, often in a more personal and cost-efficient way. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act has now placed a duty on public bodies to think more about the long-term; to work better with people, communities and each other; to prevent problems and to take a more joined up approach. Co-operative housing is doing so already.

The seven wellbeing goals compliment the seven co-operative principles developed by the International Co-Operative Alliance, which all co-operatives should adhere to. They both emphasize the importance of developing attractive, viable, healthy and sustainable communities, that maintain, even enhance the natural environment. A democratic and fair society with an economy that generates wealth, without discrimination. A society that enables people to fulfil their potential no matter their background or circumstances. A society that provides employment opportunities and education and training for a skilled workforce. A co-operative society that highlights the importance of social and cultural wellbeing.

Co-operative and community-led housing can be a part of the solution to the housing crisis in the UK. But more than just a quick fix, it can be a part of a long term sustainable option to providing affordable homes and creating resilient communities.

The Wales Co-Operative centre offers support and advice to any new or existing organisation wishing to develop co-operative housing. We can provide access to experts’ advice about co-operative housing and we can provide skills and development training for members of a co-operative. We have recently developed a Co-operative Housing Pilot Toolkit, developed to help community groups, housing associations, co-ops, local authorities and others in the initial stages of considering how to develop new co-operative & community-led homes. Take a look.

More information on co-operative housing and what support is available can be obtained from the Wales Co-operative Centre on 0300 111 5050 or at co-op.housing@wales.coop.