Exploring community led housing in Coventry, opportunities & top tips
Our Exploring Community Led Housing in Coventry event brought together a variety of people who care about delivering quality, affordable homes and building community resilience in Coventry. If you missed it, you can find the recording and slides below.
We were joined by council officers across housing, planning, asset management and community resilience teams, elected members, registered providers and individual supporters of the community led housing (CLH) movement. We heard from community organisations already providing housing or busy creating new community led homes and welcomed others who are just starting to explore the idea. Together we set out to share learning about the potential of CLH and ways that we can enable more of it. The message from the Council was a desire to understand how CLH can help to achieve shared objectives, what some of the challenges might be and how policy and support from the Council can help. There was a real sense that there is no single solution to meeting the housing needs and aspirations of our communities and that CLH is part of the puzzle. Which is a great place to start.
We’ve been collating thoughts on opportunities and challenges for CLH in Coventry that participants shared during the session and other conversations we’ve been having together about how to unleash more CLH in the city.
Some of the key challenges highlighted include:
Access to, the availability and price of land
Access to the funding required to plan a CLH scheme
Time, resources and capacity of community groups and organisations, particularly when you factor in bureaucracy and delays that can affect project progress
A feeling of ‘working in a vacuum’ and a need to convert support in principle into active supportive, underpinned by strategic commitment and policy.
These are by no means unique to Coventry and exactly the sorts of things that wMUCH would like to help with as an enabler hub for the West Midlands. What then, are some of the opportunities for Coventry that participants have identified? We find it helpful to think about this in terms of three core ingredients required for CLH – people, land and finance.
Ideas and opportunities
Plenty of things for us all to take away and action here. What would you add?
*Check out our blog on funding & finance for community led housing for other ideas about how to get the resources you need for your project.
We think this blog about how policy makers can help to inspire and enable a new wave of community led housing is worth a read too, for some additional opportunities.
If you’re thinking about embarking on a CLH project, Dianne and Geraldine shared some tips and advice...
Why do it?
If you’ve identified a need in your community, then CLH might be a way to achieve your aims
It’s about building community, not just homes
Providing housing can offer social and financial returns on investment
CLH can help to build an asset base for financial independence, long term sustainability and impact
How to do it? Top tips
Have a robust plan to guide you, one that is ambitious and realistic
Establish the right governance structure for your project
Know your skills gaps and identify different ways to fill them
Be realistic about the costs and funding required
Seek support from wMUCH early on
Engage with the Council early on
Choose professionals who understand and share your values
Be determined, have patience and self-belief
Keep your eye on the prize! It can be a long journey, but never lose sight of what you are trying to achieve.
Thank you to our wonderful speakers for sharing their experiences and insight.
Event resources You can watch the recording of the event below. On the agenda is:
An introduction to community led housing and the key ingredients needed to make it happen by Abigail Ryan, wMUCH Development Manager
Councillor David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing & Communities on the importance of affordable and social housing in the City, looking at new ways of delivering housing, consider all options and working with communities
Housing need in the City and the Council’s Housing & Homelessness Strategy by Jim Crawshaw, Head of Housing
Planning Policy by David Butler, Head of Planning Policy & Environment
Sharon Thomas, Community Resilience Lead on their role in supporting the voluntary sector and ensuring long term sustainability
Experiences and learning from Moat House Community Trust by Dianne Williams, CEO
Experiences and learning from Emmaus Coventry and Warwickshire by Geraldine Tsakirakis, Community Director
You can also download speakers' slides here: