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The Co-operative was founded in 1980 with just a few short-life houses. The houses in the main were owned by local authorities that leased them to Housing Association, who subsequently leased them to Co-operatives. These houses were standing empty and councils could not afford to upgrade them, which led to them being made over to groups that could bid for a grant to renovate the properties to a habitable standard. The houses were used to house young single people who wanted to house-share.

As councils started to “take back” properties, the Co-op had to look to securing development of new houses to ensure its future as a provider of community-based affordable housing for its membership. This was successfully achieved and we now manage a mix of shared dwellings (2 bed, 3 bed and 5 bed), 1 bed self-contained flats and some 2, 3 and 4 bed family housing in the boroughs of Lewisham and Southwark.

The Co-operative is controlled voluntarily by its members, and accountability is exercised through its management committee, who are elected from the membership at the Annual General Meeting. This body ensures that the business of the Co-operative is conducted in accordance with the policies of the Co-operative. The management committee have ultimate responsibility for seeing that the Co-operative has systems of control in place that are appropriate to the level of its business activities, to guard against any mismanagement or loss. It is assisted by various sub committees set up to involve themselves with specific aspects of management.

Three Boroughs fosters a self-help ethos whereby a large number of members serve on Committees, while many others help with regular tasks such as providing administrative assistance, maintenance work, etc.