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Partnering up

There are a few key ingredients required to make a community led housing scheme happen - those are people, land and finance.

Partnership working can be a great way for community led housing groups and organisations to unlock all three. The needs of every project will vary, but for schemes all over the country, working in partnership has often been the best way for community led housing organisations to achieve their goals. Finding a partner with the right skills and motivation can bring many benefits, such as reducing and sharing risk, increasing capacity and gaining access to skills, knowledge, funding and finance.

Recently we hosted an online event that explored the potential to work with three different kinds of partners:

  • Working with Housing Associations

  • Working with Local Authorities

  • Working with private developers

You can find a summary of the discussion and a recording of the event below. We were joined by guest speakers:

Steve Watson, Middlemarch Associates - Steve has experience of supporting many partnerships between Community Land Trusts and Housing Associations across the south west of England as an enabler and also works as an adviser for wMUCH. Steve talked about what they’ve been able to achieve in the south west (200 homes completed and 500 in the pipeline) and the role that each partner plays in this model. This involves CLTs taking a lead role in conceptualising schemes, with housing associations developing and managing homes and the CLT owning the land and assets for the benefit of the community in perpetuity.

Nic Bliss, Confederation of Cooperative Housing - Nic is Chair of the wMUCH Board and Head of Policy at CCH, where he facilitates a national working group for local authorities around the country who would like to support and enable community led housing. Nic also lives in a housing co-op himself, called 20/20 and they are currently developing some new homes on Birmingham City Council land. Nic spoke about the range of different things that local authorities can do to enable community led housing projects, the role of different people and policies and how to think about building relationships

Paul Clark, Stories - Paul is Co-founder of Stories, a socially responsible property development company committed to creating long term sustainable value. They deliver residential-led, mixed use developments across the UK, pursuing a triple bottom line of people, place and profit. Paul unpicked the profit motive of private developers for us, explaining how they might finance a scheme and how they generate returns. He outlined what this means for their priorities, exploring what community groups might be able to bring to them in this context, as well as what developers can offer to community groups.

We ended the session with a great quote from Paul that sums up the essence of successful partnership building:

“Clarity of vision and a clear sense of purpose [is so important]... The definition of a good partnership is that everyone buys into the end game. Do I believe in the vision and do I want to be part of that?”

So we’ll leave you with this thought - how will your project win the hearts and minds of partners?

Don’t forget that the wMUCH team are here to help with any aspect of your community led housing project – please email us at to find out how we can support you.

If you missed the event, you can watch the recording here:

You can download slides from our speakers here:

Steve Watson, Middlemarch - wMUCH slides
Download • 1.23MB
Nic Bliss, CCH - wMUCH slides on working
Download • 125KB

Paul's slides to follow

If you’re looking for some partnership inspiration or considering how it might work for your organisation, there a variety of other resources online that you might want to check out:

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