Voluntary Action Harrow Co-operative work with the local community providing information, training and guidance.
Based in Harrow, we are a not-for-profit co-operative owned by our workers. We are all local residents of Harrow with in-depth knowledge of the local area and of who’s doing what. Our members collectively have over 35 years’ experience in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, specialising in capacity building in a variety of different organisational development areas.
We’ve worked with a diverse range of local organisations, from small community groups, to regional and international charities. We also run, manage and co-ordinate projects, working with local people and groups to help them make a difference in their local community.
Name: Voluntary Action Harrow C.I.C
Trading Name: Voluntary Action Harrow Co-operative
Acronyms: VAH (also ‘VAHC’ and ‘VAHCo-op’)
Slogan: We Care | We Support | We Empower!
Vision: The local community has the skills, resources and support to make a positive impact.
Mission and Purpose:
The objectives of the Co-operative are to carry on activities which benefit the community and in particular (without limitation) to:
- develop a strong, independent, purposeful and unified not-for-profit sector in Harrow and the surrounding area,
- develop community action in Harrow and the surrounding area,
- support the growth of a successful co-operative movement in West London.
Legal Form: Community Interest Company (No. 7554530) [Company Limited By Guarantee]
Organisation Type: Non-Profit Organisation. A business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.
Organisation Structure: Non-Profit Workers’ Co-operative. As a co-operative, we operate under a non-hierarchical structure; everyone matters. When it comes to decision making, governance and salary structures, everyone’s skills are valued equally which creates a more unified approach to running our organisation. Having a more unified organisation means greater support to and for each other as well as higher levels of engagement and productivity. We are able to sustain our method of running Voluntary Action Harrow Limited by a strict adherence to policy, openness and accountability.
Why did we choose a co-operative?
We wanted our workers to be part of the everyday running of the organisation, and to have a say in its strategic objectives. This workers-based approach was at the heart of our decision to become a co-operative.
How does a worker co-operative differ from a charity?
Both a co-operative and a charity are dedicated to doing good work and working hard for the benefit of the community. However, a worker co-operative is solely worker-owned and run; unlike a charity, there is no board of trustees. We’ve found that this unified approach in running the organisation has greatly increased our productivity, our levels of engagement and support – not only for the community, but also for one another.
Values: Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
Seven International Co-operative Principles
- 1st Principle: Voluntary and Open Membership
- 2nd Principle: Democratic Member Control
- 3rd Principle: Member Economic Participation
- 4th Principle: Autonomy and Independence
- 5th Principle: Education, Training and Information
- 6th Principle: Co-operation among Co-operatives
- 7th Principle: Concern for Community