A NATIONAL one-day conference on the creation of student housing co-operatives
providing safe, secure and affordable accommodation is being held in
Manchester on May 26th.
`Every year we hear appalling stories about students forced to sleep on
floors and living in cramped, dirty and unsafe housing. It can no longer be
argued that living in badly managed and unhealthy accommodation is a rite
of passage,` says the Co-operative Group's Joan Keysell.
`The co-operative model offers a way forward that would put
students in control of their own housing.`
The 'As Safe As Houses' conference, organised by the Co-operative Group,
NUS and consultants URBED, aims to attract delegates from student bodies
across the UK as well as university, college and higher education officials
plus co-op members.
Under discussion will be how the first UK student housing co-operative
could work, looking at all stages of planning and building accommodation to
enable students to live sustainably.
Delegates will also discuss the first stage report of a £ 50,000 feasibility
study of the Manchester-based project into co-operatively-owned student
Commissioned by the NUS, the student unions of Manchester University and
Manchester Metropolitan University, and the students' association of the
University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in association
with the Confederation of Co-operative Housing, the study is 65 per cent
funded by a grant from Co-operative Action – a fund which supports the
development of new co-operative enterprises.
Verity Coyle, the NUS Vice President for Welfare said:
`Co-operatively-owned student accommodation would challenge private
landlords by offering higher quality, more affordable places to live.
`The co-operative housing model would put students in control of their own
accommodation – sharing long-term strategic responsibility as well as
shorter term-property management. Rents, instead of continuing to rise,
would substantially reduce while still showing commercially attractive
returns on investment.`
The conference will be held at New Century House, Manchester, from 10 am. The event costs £ 50 for
delegates or £ 5 for NUS or Co-op members. For full details, call 0161-246 2213/2224.