The Confederation of Co-operative Housing, the umbrella body for housing co-operatives in the UK, has announced the winners of the CCH 2020 Annual Awards.
The inaugural awards were set up to celebrate the achievements of housing co-operatives in the UK, and though CCH had anticipated an in-person award ceremony at its 2020 annual conference, due to the pandemic the results were delayed.
CCH had hoped to hold the ceremony later in the year, gain, but due to the ongoing effects of the crisis decided to reveal the winners of the awards online.
Active Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner: Margaret Cope – Paddock Housing Co-op
Judges found Margaret Cope to be epitome of what living in a co-op is all about, serving as a real advocate for co-op housing.
In the late 1980s, Cope was instrumental in the formation of Paddock Housing Co-op, when very little was known about the co-op world.
Along with 10 other members, she volunteered her time by attending numerous meetings and training sessions.
Her dedication and commitment became the driving force, and over a five-year period the first 10 houses for Paddock Housing Co-op were built.
Over the last 40 years, Cope has managed to get support from the local council, various MPs, and the backing of the then Housing Corporation to further develop Paddock Housing and promote housing co-ops as a viable form of social housing.
Margaret has promoted co-op housing through various boards and still sits on many of them, including bchs Partnership board – of which she is the chair – and Accord’s Communities board.
Cope said: “It’s so wonderful to be recognised for the work I have done, and I’m really honoured to know that others feel I’ve made such a positive impact.”
Innovative Housing Co-operative of the Year
Winner: North Camden Housing Co-op
North Camden had a 15-unit three-storey building on a corner plot in Kentish Town, built in 1983, which over time had presented several long-term problems related to its design and construction.
The co-op undertook a feasibility study that presented three different options. The co-op decided to secure a substantial loan and embark on a full environmental redesign and renovation of the building.
The redesign included a Passivhaus concept upgrading the building with external insulation, triple-glazed windows, good levels of airtightness, and heat recovery ventilation.
The opportunity was also taken to redesign the five bedsits in the property into one-bedroom flats, while keeping the integrity of the original design.
In addition, to help combat fuel poverty, the gas supply has been removed from the building and Photovoltaic roof panels installed.
There were detailed discussions and considerations for the project, leading to works starting on site in 2018 and finishing in 2019.
Housing Co-operator of the Year
Winner: Alam Navsa – Maynard Co-operative Housing Association
Navsa has been chair of Maynard Co-operative Housing Association for the last 25 years, crusading community-led housing and steering the co-op’s success, all while bringing up three children and running a full-time business.
After joining the management committee in 1995, Navsa became chair within a month, and quickly set about recruiting fellow tenants to create a newly reinvigorated committee.
With their support, he turned the co-op around, introducing a long-term improvement plan to bring the housing stock up to the Decent Homes Standard – including sourcing funding for a multi-million-pound programme of insulation work.
Under his leadership, the co-op was able to buy a derelict building in 2013 and refurbish it to create four new flats, increasing its stock to 118 homes in the Highfields area of Leicester.
Having secured funding to buy another two houses, he and fellow committee members are currently working to find other suitable properties.
Among other initiatives, Navsa has introduced tablets for committee members, opened a local office, promoted tenant involvement by introducing twice yearly outings and fun days, promoted the co-op to local youth organisations, and developed a committee members’ training programme and personal development reviews.
Breakthrough Housing Co-operative of the Year
Winner: Bunker Housing Co-op
Bunker was set up as a self-build housing co-op in 2015 with the goal of housing low-income families.
The group is currently working on the development of five different BHCC sites in the City of Brighton with the aim of providing 15 new homes.
Bunker’s first pilot project at Plumpton Road is gaining local and cross-coop support, which is intended to be used to build a toolkit and database of skills, contacts, and information.
The group has completed the first stage of becoming a registered provider of social housing via the regulator (RSL) and has received a £10k Grant from Community Led Homes to pay for becoming such, working with Beacon Partnership to complete the process.
About the CCH Awards
Launched in 2020, the awards are the brainchild of CCH board member Tom Hopkins.
Commenting on the inaugural event, Hopkins said: “We had some great entries for our first year, and we had some very worthy winners.
“The Housing Co-operator of the Year award was very difficult to judge, to the point where we created a special CCH award for Active Lifetime Achievement, and we were very pleased to honour Margaret with this award – she has worked so hard for the housing co-op movement over many years.”
The 2021 awards will launch within the next few weeks.
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