The Welsh co-operative housing sector continues to grow with the first leasehold housing co-operative opening in Cardiff in December 2015. The co-op is a pilot scheme developed with support from the Welsh government, who provided capital funding to Cadwyn Housing Association for the development of Home Farm Village Co-operative.
The development comprises of 41 flats and houses provided at social rents. All tenants are members of the co-operative and can stand for the board.
To gain the skills and knowledge required for managing the co-op, members participated in a training programme supported by the Wales Co-operative Centre and the Confederation of Co-operative Housing. Tenant members are in charge of repairs to their homes, managing their rental income, dealing with complaints and deciding how to spend the profits.
Member Clive Ward said: “Allowing a group of people to have a greater say and more autonomy in running their home and community has got to be a positive way forward.”
The co-op was set up to provide affordable housing and assist in tackling poverty.
I hope this development inspires and informs further co-operative housing schemes across Wales
Speaking at the official opening of the co-op, minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, Lesley Griffiths, said: “Co-operative housing plays a key role in increasing the availability of affordable housing, boosting the economy and creating local job and apprenticeship opportunities. It also enables members to have more control over the day-to-day running of their community.
“This is why I am pleased the Welsh government has been able to contribute over £2.5 million towards this innovative scheme. The first leasehold housing co-operative in Wales, Home Farm Village is breaking new ground. I hope this development inspires and informs further co-operative housing schemes across Wales, and I wish the residents much happiness in their new homes.”
Chris O’Meara, chief executive of Cadwyn Housing Association, said: “We have been delighted to work with a number of partners to make this ground-breaking project a reality, including Cardiff Council, the Welsh government and the Wales Co-operative Centre. Cadwyn hopes to develop more housing co-operatives in the future to give people the opportunity to live in strong communities.”
Derek Walker, chief executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre, added: “It is clear that co-operative housing has an important role to play in increasing the provision of affordable housing and creating safe and democratic communities.
“The Wales Co-operative Centre has been delighted to work with Cadwyn and the residents of Home Farm Village to take this development forward.”