West Midlands Euro MP Phil Bennion has praised Birmigham's Shahjalal Housing Co-operative as 'an inspiration and a model' after meeting the project board and visiting a number of residents in their homes today (Friday 22nd June).

Birmingham's Shahjalal co-op is a model of affordable and inclusive housing, says Euro MPThe area's new Lib Dem MEP had been invited to visit the Co-op in Aston by the chairman, Malik Ullah, to see the success of Shahjalal's democratic and co-operative approach to tackling acute housing need in the local Bangladeshi community.

The Co-op now has secured 77 modern affordable homes designed to meet the needs of larger families in one of the most deprived sections of society in the city and who are most likely to be living in chronically overcrowded conditions.

After meeting the board, Phil Bennion and Malik Ullah visited a number of Shahjalal's homes in Aston and Saltley and talked to the residents.

Phil Bennion MEP said: 'I was very impressed not only with the quality of the homes in Shahjalal's portfolio but the success of the group's co-operative and inclusive approach. I am delighted to see Malik Ullah's keenness not just to talk about inclusiveness but make it a reality. Most of the board members are tenants and it is very good to see that seven out of the 15 are women.

"The group is clearly focused on the needs of the local community but I am glad it is also seeking to work with larger organisations over a much wider area. This will enable them to export their co-operative values and example to other communities also facing the challenges of housing the next generation without destroying the family ties essential to fostering stable and sustainable neighbourhoods.

"What is particularly inspiring is that this is a truly ground-up community initiative, democratic and member-led, with a superb track record of success."

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 people who enjoy playing an active role in our community.

"My aim has been to increase the number of women involved every year. Women can explain things so much better to women family members than men can!

"Shahjalal exists to meet the needs of local communities and to ensure 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."

ENDS

Caption: 1.Phil Bennion MEP with Malik Ullah and other board members of the Shahjalal Co-op outside their hq off Witton Road.
2. Phil Bennion and Malik Ullah talking to a resident in one of Shahjalal's homes in Aston.

Note: The Bangladeshi community is one of the most disadvantaged in Birmingham. 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.

The Shahjalal Housing Cooperative was formed in 1996 when three Bangladeshi housing cooperatives in north Birmingham dating from the 1970s merged. Based in Witton Road, Aston, Shahjalal has 77 homes, which are managed by the local Bangladeshi community. Since its inception, this unique housing organisation was established by and run by the Bangladeshi community, in partnership with a range of organisations including Birmingham City Council, the Trident Social Investment Group, Matrix Housing Partnership, the Accord Group and BCHS.
www.shahjalal.org.uk

For further information about Shahjalal contact:
Dawn Prentice: 07894 828697 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Birmingham's Shahjalal co-op is a model of affordable and inclusive housing, says Euro MP

Phil Bennion MEP with Malik Ullah, chairman of Shahjalal Housing Co-op and members of the board in Witton