Building on heritage.

Why? Manchester is on the co-operative map.

We’ve had enough

Manchester landlords are profiteering from the precarious state of the student rental market. 1 in 3 students across the UK view their accommodation as being poor value for money. Broken records of extortionate rent, overdue repairs, unhealthy mould and unreturned deposits.

There are more low quality student rooms in Manchester than the rest of the UK. Despite the poor quality rent alone can take 73% of a student’s maintenance loan for the month (NSMS 2020). 71% of students worry about making ends meet and this has now risen to 81% due to Covid-19.

They locked us in

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, just days into the new academic year, 1700 MMU students in university accommodation were made to isolate regardless of symptoms. Police and security waited, barricading the outside to stop anyone leaving, creating a toxic environment, among already prison-like living conditions.

In Fallowfield, fences were put up around halls the day England went into lockdown. So we occupied Owen’s Park Tower in protest and went on rent strike. We won a 30% rent rebate.

We need change

Although this is a fantastic step for students across Manchester, landlords continue to make student’s lives miserable. Students will often only live in a property for one year, so why bother with them when there’s always another group waiting to move in? Landlords treat students as disposable as they will leave the area soon anyway.

The 9k4What? and the Rent Strikes campaigns have shown that when students act in unity, we can make a difference. But we need a solution. There is an alternative. And Manchester is the place to prove it.

Many of us don’t want to feel cut off from the community in this way, and want to be part of the great dynamic culture that makes up Manchester. We wanted to set up a way for students to create autonomous yet community driven housing as an alternative to private renting. The modern co-operative movement was formed here in Manchester. The epicentre of the Student Rent Revolution is here in Manchester.

The first co-operative set up by the Rochdale pioneers aimed to provide affordable and alternative food and provisions to benefit the community. Since then the cooperative movement has extended across the world.

Recently the UK has seen a growth of the student housing co-operative movement with Bristol, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Brighton and Birmingham all having their own examples of this solution in practice.

Manchester is lagging behind

Manchester desperately needs community-led affordable housing for students, which establishes long-term roots in the community. This has been writ large amidst the recent conflict between students and the universities.

We know that co-operatives are a creative way for students to take control of their lives and money and show that we can make a positive impact on the communities we live and study in.