The Co-operative Model

The Co-operative as a modern business structure originated in Britain around two hundred years ago. Robert Owen, a Welshman, is considered the father of the cooperative movement. A successful businessman who made his fortune in the cotton trade, Owen believed in putting his workers in a good environment with access to education for themselves and their children. These ideas were put into effect successfully in the cotton mills of Scotland. It was here that the first cooperative store was opened. Co-operatives continue to thrive today.   The Northern Geelong Rental Housing Co-operative Ltd (NGRHC) was formed in August 1983. Co-operatives share certain characteristics:

  • They have people at their heart, rather than profit
  • They are based on specific values
  • They operate according to a specific set of principles

Being a member of a Co-operative comes with certain obligations. As the Rules of the NGRHC state, active membership requires that the member should:

  • Pay their rent on time
  • Keep to any rental arrears or maintenance repayment agreement
  • Provide income documents when requested
  • Report changes in their household in a timely manner
  • Keep their rental property in good order
  • Report maintenance issues
  • Respond to surveys
  • Reply to meeting notices and social invitations; and
  • Attend not less than two-thirds of General Meetings of the Co-operative held each two calendar years.

NGRHC aims for positive and beneficial tenant-member outcomes which include:

  • Access to education and training grants
  • Community engagement
  • Participation in the Governance of the Co-op
  • Better maintenance on the properties
  • Opportunity to send children on school camps
  • Workshops on home improvement/maintenance
  • Parenting workshops
  • Supports social enterprise
  • Network and Linkages to services