We wanted to let you know a bit about ourselves and how we got here.
Due to the closure of Harrow Association of Voluntary Services (HAVS), Harrow’s Council for Voluntary Services (Harrow CVS), in 2011 we noticed there was a huge gap in the sector.
Wanting to solve this problem, a group of previous workers who were made redundant, got together and started a workers co-operative called Voluntary Action Harrow Limited. That’s us!
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.
Since 2011, our organisation has grown and, today, we are providing an ever-expanding range of services, across a growing geography. Our core aims have stayed the same throughout – to help support, develop and inform Harrow’s voluntary and community activity, and to spread the co-operative movement across West London.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did HAVS close?
For reasons unknown to the founding members, HAVS was wound down in March 2011.
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.
How do we fund ourselves?
All our money comes from contracts, consultancy support, selling services/products and grants. As a social enterprise we are always working to be less reliant on grant funding.