National housing body Student Co-op Homes is seeking investors so it can help buy property in Brighton that will give local students a better start to their working lives, and help create a stronger society.
There are currently three student housing co-ops successfully operating in the UK – in Birmingham, Edinburgh and Sheffield. A student housing co-op has been set up in Brighton but it has been struggling to buy property in a fiercely competitive market.
Amelia Yates, a member of SEASALT (South East Students Autonomously Living Together) Housing Co-operative, said. “Right now in Brighton, students are paying on average £600 a month in rent, which is a huge portion of their student loan. Some have to get two jobs in addition to studying, and this can put a lot of stress on their mental health.
“A housing co-op would cost less and provide a permanent home for several years, saving people the stress of moving around. Support from Student Co-op Homes will help secure a property that would give Brighton students a better quality of life.
“We’ve been getting advice from a local community energy co-op about how to create a more sustainable, energy efficient home. So once we have a property, we can ensure that it is maintained in a way that’s good for the environment and costs student members less in bills too.”
Today, students in higher education face increasing pressure, debt and mental health challenges. Student housing co-ops are a solution that can break the cycle of high-cost, poor-quality private rents that drive up debt and exacerbate poor health.
Housing co-ops are affordable not-for-profit homes that students manage and maintain themselves. There are no landlords and everyone works together for mutual benefit. They provide the conditions to nurture new generations of resilient, healthy graduates who can enter the workforce and shape society from a stronger position.
Student Co-op Homes (SCH) is a national UK body that was set up to support the creation of more student housing co-ops and grow this new, ethical housing market. Today (10 October 2019) it is launching a community share offer to raise up to £2 million from investors so that it can buy property to lease at an affordable rate to the student housing co-operative in Brighton – and others in Nottingham and Glasgow.
Vivian Woodell, Director of Student Co-op Homes, said: “We are urging people and organisations to invest in our share offer so we can raise vital funds to break the cycle of poor-quality, high-cost student rents and vastly improve the lives of young people in higher education.
“With a property to live in, the members of the Brighton Student Housing Co-op will benefit from gaining valuable life skills, better physical and mental health, less debt and a better start in life.”
Student Co-op Homes has been supported by Co-operatives UK, the national trade body for co-ops. Ed Mayo, Secretary General, added “It’s not just for the students’ benefit, the housing co-ops are helping to shape a group of graduates who are ready to enter the workforce with experience in community and co-operative values. They are the next generation of co-operators who can help to shape a fairer, more just economy to benefit us all.”
Community share offers are a popular approach to raising finance, in which people and organisations invest large or small sums of money and become co-owners of vital enterprises – from affordable housing to community pubs to green energy
The SCH community share offer is now live at studenthomes.coop.