West Whitlawburn Housing Co-operative
Facts & Figures
The Co-operative was formed in 1989 by local tenants determined to challenge the social deprivation on their estate. With support from government and their staff team, they set about a community-led regeneration: the results are high-quality housing and services for their community, and a restored sense of local pride in the area. Other benefits include a Community Resource Centre which provides a hub for events, learning opportunities, Credit Union and Citizen Advice services, affordable childcare, and a 3G floodlit pitch. Many homes are linked to a Biomass heating service providing controllable cheap heating and hot water, and Whitcomm Co-operative provides broadband and telephone services to tenants.
The Co-operative is a mutual, registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefits Society Act 2014. It holds charitable status and is a Registered Social Landlord with the Scottish Housing Regulator.
Turnover is earned-income from rents.
Value of assets
Roots & Links
By the 1980s West Whitlawburn had become the classic, rundown local authority estate with high rates of crime, drug-use and turnover of tenancies. Tenants decided that this was totally unacceptable and in 1989, with the support of Glasgow City Council and the Housing Corporation, formed the Co-operative to begin a community-led regeneration of the estate.
A 13 member Management Committee: members vote for and can stand for the Committee. All tenants are members meaning that WWHC are a fully mutual housing co-operative with 100% tenant membership. The Whitlawburn Community Resource Centre and the Whitlawburn Community Communications Co-operative (Whitcomm) have separate Committees but are supported by the Co-operative.
The Co-operative: • has a tenant member-controlled Committee; • has a participation plan for each project; • consults through its tenant satisfaction survey; • works with local people through its services and Community Resource Centre.
Local and Regional: • Lanarkshire Voluntary Housing Forum • South Lanarkshire Council. National: • Confederation of Co-operative Housing • Co-operative Development Scotland • Employers in Voluntary Housing • Local People Leading • Co-operatives UK
Community Resource Centre – see below.
Builds Local Capacity
The Community Resource Centre provides: • Lanarkshire Credit Union; • Recycling project – selling cheap toys, clothes, homeware • health activities, e.g. yoga, aerobics; • advice, e.g. on Benefits & finance via CAB outreach; • learning,. The Whitcomm Co-operative was launched at the Scottish Parliament in 2008, to provide 100 of WWHC’s newest properties with broadband and telephone services. Whitcomm has 80% take up in the properties it’s available in.
•Housing management services, including a 24-hour concierge service and an estate management service. All concierge are fully first aid trained and a number of tenants have housing alarms linked to the concierge station. The Community Resource Centre – see above – provides: • ‘Out of school’ affordable childcare; • a hall and meeting rooms; • an IT suite; Youth diversion activities, 3G Floodlit pitch
• Office accommodation facilities for local supporting organisations – currently eg Utd Sports a coaching service.
•543 home are now linked to a Biomass heating service providing controllable cheap heating and hot water.
644 homes: multi-story blocks, tenements and houses.
Our three most recent achievements are: • A state of the art Biomass heating project has been delivered to 543 homes providing cheap, controllable, reliable and sustainable heating and hot water • In this time of austerity WWHC has been able to freeze rents for 2016-17 by using clever internal cost saving tools• Performance assessment by The Scottish Housing Regulator showed that in 12 out of 14 indicators WWHC performed well above the average of Scottish RSL’s in providing service value and satisfaction level.
Sustaining ‘our model’ … so that we are commercially successful without forgetting our human values and the need to continue to improve. and showing that the ‘Housing Co-operative model’ is the best in town … this works!
Welfare benefit reforms continue to be a challenge to both the business of providing affordable housing but also to WWHC’s tenant base who are suffering as a result of cuts and sanctions.
Patience and stamina … once a stock transfer has taken place, tenants are in control – the highest rung on the ladder of participation – but it takes time, commitment and determination to build-up the capacity for such management of an organisation.
We want to ‘evangelise’ for the co-operative model. We want to show that locally-led development works, and to pull away from bureaucratic management from ‘the centre’. WWHC will continue to combine community activism and housing professionalism as that’s what has sustained us for over 25 years and it’s what will continue to ensure that we meet the undoubtable challenges of the next 25 years.
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