A great start to the first student led housing co-op in Sussex! We’ve recruited a core team of 7 student volunteers including Society & Citizenship Sabbatical Officer (and now our Secretary for the Housing Co-op!) & Ethnic Minorities Officer and been meeting every Thursday this term. There’s lots to do but it’s an incredibly supportive environment, lots to learn but really rewarding and feels exciting to be part of this unique project. We’ve had expert advice & support from Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (community led housing programme). We are really lucky as there is so much amazing free training on offer from self builds, finances, finding property to setting up housing co-ops. Anyone in Brighton can join https://bhclt.org.uk for £1! This is a really unique opportunity to do something positive to challenge the housing crisis.
We came up with a name for the housing co-op. S.E.A.SA.L.T. All the other student housing co-ops so far have been named by the cities they’re in but as Sussex students we didn’t want to exclude Brighton students or suggest it was only for Brighton students either. So the members came up with a name that could represent all South East students and were also keen to have a coastal connection and so S.E.A.S.A.L.T was born! (South EAst Students Autonomously Living Together). And we’re working on a logo too. this is the first draft.
We’ve had a busy couple of months with information gathering around governance structures and rules needed for housing co-op, and we’re underway with the registration process with Co-ops UK. First stage complete & now the documents have been signed and sent off! We’ve written a business case and read lots of relevant research & reports from housing strategies to rate your landlord. All more reasons to support #studentcoophomes
Everyone we’ve met so far has been excited and supportive! It’s great that Brighton is such a hotspot for co-ops. Special thanks to Sarah from Bug Housing, Helen & Scout from Rosa Bridge and Helen from Two Piers for their all top tips and advice. Not only have we had guest speakers at our meetings we visited Two Piers, the oldest Co-operative in Brighton. We visited the original and first co-op building which used to be a church but was sadly left burnt out after a fire. It’s a total oasis hidden away near the seafront offering affordable housing for those most in need.
We’re now busy scoping out properties and starting to look at fundraising options! We have a mortgage in principle too. We’re looking at alternative properties so we aren’t putting more pressure on family housing. We have a vision for affordable and high quality student housing. We have autonomy to make our own decisions as a group from choosing an ethical bank account to how we want to manage the property.
Next blog post we’ll be hearing about our recent overnight visit to Birmingham Student Housing Co-op! If you want to find out more or get involved we’d love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org