Gwalia is working in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council to deliver a new Welsh Government pilot project to provide co-operative housing in Carmarthen.
Housing co-operatives are groups of people who live in and collectively manage their own homes; this means that the co-op decide how the properties are managed rather than the landlord.
The Welsh Government has prioritised co-operative housing in its Housing (Wales) Bill and is part-funding 3 pilot projects across Wales to explore the use of co-operative models as an additional housing option for people. Gwalia will be applying for planning permission to build 2, 3 and 4 bedroom homes to rent and is now looking for people who want to become equal members of the tenant managed co-op.
Andrew Vye, Director of Housing at Gwalia explains more about the initiative “Co-ops are a great way to get involved in building a community where people know and support each other because inherently as a co-op the members work together to manage the homes.
“Although the members will ultimately decide what responsibilities they take on, they could manage things like arranging repairs and improvements, making decisions about rent or allocating properties when someone leaves the co-op. It’s a great way for someone who’s renting to have a similar level of control over their home as someone who has bought.
“We are now calling for anyone who’s interested to contact us and book onto an information event we’re holding at the end of September, where they’ll find out more about co-operative housing and hear first-hand from someone who is a member of a co-op in England.”
Cllr Tegwen Devichand, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Housing, said:
“Co-operative housing is very common in other parts of Europe, and we are aware of several successful schemes in the UK. Here in Carmarthenshire, we have many people who have an income, but cannot afford to fund a deposit for a mortgage, and therefore their only option is the rented sector. Co-ops provide an another option for people who are seeking a home, while also offering people the opportunity to democratically manage their home along with their neighbours.”
David Palmer is the Co-operative Housing Project Manager at the Wales Co-operative Centre. He has supported Gwalia and Carmarthenshire County Council to develop the project and acted as an advisor on co-operative approaches. He commented,
“Co-operative housing offers a viable and attractive form of housing for people who wish to make their own decisions around their homes. This pilot project will see a range of housing opportunities for different families in the Carmarthenshire area and I hope to see this become a popular model for new housing developments over the next few years”.
Gwalia will be letting the homes at an intermediate rent level, which means that the rent is affordable and less than you would expect to pay for a similar home in the area if you were renting from a private landlord.
To ensure that members of the co-op have all the skills necessary to actively participate in the management of the co-op Gwalia will be delivering an extensive training programme over the next year.
To book a place at the information event phone Gwalia on 0800 012 1080.
There are 3 co-operative housing pilot projects being delivered in Wales. These schemes are being part-funded by the Welsh Government in partnership with housing associations and local authorities and are supported by the Wales Co-operative Centre and Confederation of Co-operative Housing.
Grŵp Gwalia is a leading provider of housing, care and support services in south and mid Wales. The company manages more than 10,300 units of accommodation and more than 2,700 units of care.
Wales Co-operative Centre
The Wales Co-operative Centre was set up thirty years ago and ever since has been helping businesses grow, people to find work and communities to tackle the issues that matter to them. Its advisors work co-operatively across Wales, providing expert, flexible and reliable support to develop sustainable businesses and strong, inclusive communities.