Sports field with goal posts and houses in the distance

Commission meet to discuss the housing opportunities for co-operative business and working

Co-operative and community-led housing can help solve the housing crisis and build sustainable communities, says Greater Manchester’s Co-operative Commission.

Meeting for the second time last month (Thursday 25 April), commissioners explored how the co-operative movement can tackle some of the housing challenges which exist across the city-region, including difficulties in acquiring the land and stock needed to develop projects, a lack of knowledge and skills in conveyancing and struggling to engage new members.

Commissioners heard from co-founder of Homes for Change, Charlie Baker, who gave a rousing presentation about the redevelopment of Hulme in the 1990’s. He told Commissioners how the community was motivated to take control and form a co-operative, from which Homes for Change was born. He demonstrated how much can be achieved by community control, as Homes for Change had discovered.

Charlie said: “The main driver for co-operative and community-led housing should be as part of the creation of sustainable communities.

“A good example of where this has already been implemented and works well is the Community Gateway project in Preston.

“Sustainable regeneration has to come hand in hand with community empowerment.”

Former Board Chair of Trowers and Hamlins Solicitors, Mike Gaskell, who is an expert in co-operative housing, was also at the meeting to advise the Commissioners on a variety of topics around housing and how to improve co-operative ways of working in Greater Manchester.

The Commission has reviewed the evidence that has been put forward so far, and will make policy recommendations to support the continued development of the co-operative sector across the region.

Following the rallying call that was issued back in February, the Commissioners are now looking for evidence to support the four opportunities which include housing, the digital economy, transport and co-operative business development.

The next meeting will focus on the second opportunity: transport. Commissioners are particularly interested in hearing about:

  • Taxi and private hire provision using new technology to compete with international providers
  • Car-pooling, sharing, and cycle hire – which will have a positive impact on road congestion and air pollution by reducing the number of private cars on Greater Manchester’s roads
  • ‘integrated social needs transport’ – transport to doctors’ and hospital appointments, school transport, ‘ring and ride’ etc – where an improvement in connectivity and effectiveness will reduce missed appointments and allow timely hospital discharge

You can share your experiences of co-operatives via the call for evidence at

Article Published: 14/05/2019 10:27 AM