I have lived in a co-op for 20 years and while it can be time consuming, it is also very fulfilling. In our co-op we are a family team and, above all, a caring community. We look out for each other and work out our problems. There are always answers – it’s not easy, but we usually agree to disagree, or we have a solution.
It seems in the past co-ops were seen as close-knit units, with people only letting others join if they knew someone or had connections. I can assure you it’s not like that. We have to run as a business and we have all the same monitoring as all housing associations.
We also have to make our properties fit for purpose, but we do something differently by putting people first and discovering what is best for our community. We don’t just tick boxes and pay lip service to our members.
We know the youth of today have different priorities to ours, but we provide a secure community to grow up in. We do seem to have less bad behaviour, maybe because we listen. You don’t have to be large to succeed; you can be small and still be successful.
Margaret Cope, member of Paddock Housing Co-operative, Walsall