Confederation of Co-op Housing announces its annual award winners

This year’s awards had a focus on the sector’s efforts to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals and tackle climate change

The UK Confederation of Co-operative Housing (CCH) has announced the winners of its annual awards, which this year had an emphasis on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Set up to “show the achievements, new ideas and initiatives, amazing activities, contributions, and dedication that housing co-operatives make to their sector”, the awards were presented at CCH’s recent annual conference in Kenilworth.

The winners are:

Housing Co-operator of the Year (sponsored by North West Housing Services) – Helen Bartlett, Rosabridge/Bunker Housing Co-op

Helen (pictured right) is the driving force behind the creation of RosaBridge Housing Co-operative, an LGBTQ+ co-operative in Brighton, and has been a tireless supporter of other co-operatives in Brighton and Hove. She is a Community Led Housing hub coordinator and works as a CLH enabler in the city.

CCH says she won the award “for the consistent ongoing patience, advice and support that she has given to Bunker Housing Co-operative, and for being an inspirational figurehead in the housing co-operative movement”.

Related: Report from the CCH conference

Sustainability at Home (sponsored by Anthony Collins Solicitors) – Edinburgh Student Housing Co-operative (ESHC)

This award is for a co-op that “has gone above and beyond” to work with its members to take action to meet Sustainable Development Goals 7 (affordable and clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production) and 13 (climate action) at a practical domestic scale during a time of drastic climate change.

ESHC received the award for its recent renovation which used renewable and reclaimed materials – which included barely anything concrete or petrochemical-based.

Most of the construction was carried out by members themselves using simple construction methods suited limited construction experience. The skills learnt were then used by members for improving their own flats, as well as being useful life skills.

Active Membership (sponsored by MB Housing Management) –  Belgrave Neighbourhood Co-operative Housing Association

This award is for housing co-operatives who have put into practice the principles and guidance from CCH’s Active Membership in Housing Co-operatives publication, and is in line with SSDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Belgrave in Leicester has introduced an Active Management Programme which included regular newsletters, a website, and new social media accounts, with the goal of improving community participation and raising awareness of what the co-operative does.

The co-op employed a member engagement officer to co-ordinate a year-long programme of events which included marking the 50th anniversary of the Ugandan Asian expulsion, along with TV, radio and newspaper coverage.

Young Co-operators of the Year (sponsored by Pinnacle Group) – Seasalt Student Housing Co-operative

CCH says Seasalt (South East Students Autonomously Living Together) is “an inspirational group of young people who have successfully delivered their build project and  while actively promoting a super exciting and inspiring housing presence on various social media.

“They have promoted sustainability, inclusivity, co-operative principles and co-operative housing.”

SPECIAL AWARD: Longevity Award (sponsored by Co-op Homes) – Theresa Lyons, Senacre Housing Co-op

Theresa has lived at Senacre since 1996 and has dedicated her time to the running of the co-op.  She has been treasurer, secretary, maintenance officer and is now chair.  She has also served on the CCH and CDS Co-operatives’s board, and was chair of the Housing Service sub committee.

CCH says: “She has given many years of her time to make the co-op what it is today, and is especially attentive to residents and those who may be vulnerable.  She was nominated by a member of the committee as a thank you to her for her 26 years of ‘hard work and giving’.”

Launched in 2020, this year the awards were curated by our CCH vice chair Jay Lambe. He said: We were so pleased to be able to celebrate our members achievements at our conference this year.  All the awards were really well deserved given the high standard of nominees.

“We also included a longevity award to recognise the work of those individuals who perhaps didn’t fit the award categories but whose input over time into their co-op and the co-op movement is fundamental to our success. We are grateful to all our sponsors for their generosity.”