logo SSHH banner
About Us
How to apply
Members Area

History of Southsea Self Help Housing Co-operative


National Federation Of Housing Co-ops

It was apparent from early on that SSHH needed to broaden its horizons. We were a bit isolated on the south coast, our closest neighbours being SPITHEAD (Southsea), TWO PIERS Housing Co-op in Brighton,, and PRANGLE & HAMWIC in Southampton.

The National Federation of Housing Co-operatives (NFHC) was formed around 1981, specifically to promote the interests of Housing Co-ops.
There were several factors that led to this. Housing Co-ops were only given minority support from the National Federation of Housing Associations. The Housing Corporation had abolished the Cooperative Housing Agency, which it had set up in 1976 to promote the growth of housing Co-ops. It was replaced by the Co-operative Services Unit. This was closed down in 1980, and a 10% allocation of funds (to housing Co-ops) was also stopped. In 1982, the ‘Mini-Housing Grant’ (how we funded much of the short life scheme) was reduced to £1m nationally, and restrictions introduced on the types of property able to receive it.

Against this background, the N.F.H.C. was formed. It was divided into 8 regions. This was aimed at decentralisation – to avoid the NFHC as a whole being dominated by the London based co-ops. In 1985, SSHH was involved in the formation of the South Coast region of the NFHC. (Including those co-ops mentioned above).

Leeds Co-op Fair
Leeds Co-op Fair
Leeds Co-op Fair 1984 Leeds Co-op Fair 1984

This followed a meeting between these co-ops in Portsmouth, which was held to discuss the forthcoming Department of the Environment review of housing co-ops, generally seen as an attack on H. Co-ops. They were viewed as expensive to set up, and not particularly cost effective. Also, recent ‘monitoring’ of housing co-ops by the Housing Corporation (who do this to co-ops in receipt of Grants, to evaluate their performance, financially and otherwise) had not been very favourable. Also, ‘Fair Rents’ – those set locally by a Rent Officer, were set to increase, or possibly replaced by ‘market’ rents. These changes were of crucial importance to us, as we were in the Development process, were now registered with the Housing Corporation, and about to be in receipt of Grant, and would be subject to any changes with the New build Flats in Garnier St.

Leeds Co-op Fair
Housing Corporation
Leeds Co-op Fair 1984 The Housing Corporation

Previously (’83, ’84, & ’85) we had members who attended 3 significant events: The Leeds Co-op Fairs (’83 & ’84) – ‘A celebration of Worker & Housing Co-ops’, and in 1985, the ‘National Co-operative Gala’ in Barnsley.

The Leeds events were held at the co-operatively run, and financially independent Beechwood College, and set in 70 acres of glorious Farm & woodland. We sent 3 people (’83), and 12 in ’84.

Viewed by some as a ‘Co-op holiday’ they were a great opportunity to meet others, exchange experiences, and attend various workshops – topics ranging from the general, e.g.: ‘Solving disputes’, ‘How you meetings needn’t be so awful’, to more particular, e.g.: ‘The Private Finance of Housing Co-ops’, ‘Co-,ops and political parties’, Food Co-ops’.
Entertainment was laid on in the evenings.

Compulsory Purchase Order
A Housing Prospectus
Compulsory Purchase Order 1977 A Housing Prospectus

The Barnsley affair was a different sort of event , ie: not organised by the NFHC., and very definitely  northern based.
It was noted that: we were:

    “Subject to Yorkshire Brass Band / Bagpipe / Barnsley Cooperative
Operatic Society music. On Saturday, as none of the workshops organised were particularly relevant  to housing co-ops, we decided to arrange a few of our own – but nobody came. Compensation (for some) came in the form of a lengthy sing-song and beer around the bonfire, on Saturday night. On Sunday, we enjoyed the slightly improved weather, gathered a few items of useful literature, and wondered if we’d come to the right place. Where were all the housing co-ops?”

                                                                 (NEWSLETTER, AUG. ’85)

In May 1986, Portsmouth (SSHH + Spithead Housing Co-ops) hosted the National Conference of the NFHC. In addition to regular business, we had a chance to run a workshop of our own: ‘The transition from Short-life to Permanent housing’. The conference went well. It was quite a challenge, as we had to provide bed spaces for a number of delegates.
SSHH & Spithead had begun working on a leaflet on Housing co-ops, for national distribution. On the Saturday evening we put on some musical entertainment, at the Hornpipe Arts Centre. 

(The N.F.H.C ceased long ago. The current representative body for housing is:

 ‘The Confederation of Co-operative Housing’ (CCH) – info@cch.coop

The Housing Corporation ceased operation in Nov. 2008.

2 new Agencies were set up:
                                              The Tenant Services Authority (TSA)
                                              Homes and Communities Agency (HCA)

Back to History History


Home | About Us | Map | How to Apply | Policies

History | Gallery | Videos | Links | Contact

?2021 Southsea Self Help Housing Co-Operative