MEP Embraces Co-operative Values
Published by Dawn Prentice for Dawn Prentice Communications in Communities and also in Education, Environment, Health
Tariq, Malik (CHAIR), Phil Bennion MEP and Shahjalal Board Members (in front of Phil’s landrover)
West Midlands MEP Phil Bennion visited the Shahjalal Housing Co-operative on Friday 22nd June, to find out firsthand the benefits of a community working together to build social capital and create safe, friendly, sustainable neighbourhoods that foster community wellbeing.
Shahjalal’s co-operative values encompass sharing resources to meet members’ needs, and they achieve this by building productive networks that broaden the resources available to them. By working together and with the wider community, Shahjalal has a coordinated approach to the development and management of their homes. A democratic organisation, Shahjalal is controlled by its members; they make the decisions and set the rules for the organisation.
Phil Bennion’s first visit to Shahjalal, the MEP was escorted on a tour of a range of homes in the Aston and Saltley areas, where he was able to meet local residents.
One of the reasons it is important to raise awareness of the needs of the Bangladeshi community is that they are one of the most disadvantaged communities. They have one of the lowest life expectancies and are most likely to be living in over-crowded housing. Demand for large, affordable homes for this under-represented community far outstrips the supply.
Phil Bennion MEP said, ‘I am very impressed with the quality of the homes in Shahjalal’s portfolio and Malik Ullah’s keenness to involve members of the community in the management of this very successful co-operative, and in particular to have so many women on the Board of Management. This community based organisation serves the needs of the local community and keeps its local commitment, but at the same time it is seeking to work with larger organisations that are geographically dispersed. This will enable the organisation to export its co-operative values to other like-minded communities which will help to build cohesive communities across the Midlands.
Malik Ullah, Chair of Shahjalal said, ‘On behalf of Shahjalal’s members, I would like to thank Phil Bennion MEP for coming to see our homes in Northwest Birmingham and meeting the people who enjoy playing an active role in our community. Shahjalal exists
to meet the needs of local communities, ensuring that our services are tailored to their needs. By working together, we are able to build strong and vibrant communities, where people are proud to live.’