The Nationwide Foundation is awarding over £1 million to support the growth of community-led housing, so that the sector can deliver more decent, affordable homes for people in need.
Six organisations will use the funding to provide support and advice to community-led housing groups. The Nationwide Foundation recognises that, while there is a growing appetite for community-led housing and more communities are mobilising to turn this into a reality, there is a desperate lack of support which can stall or even halt promising and much-needed projects.
The organisations funded by the Nationwide Foundation will be offering the information, support, advice and technical expertise that is needed to progress schemes. The focus will be on ensuring that community groups can effectively and more easily deliver homes that are both decent and affordable and meet the needs of their communities.
Community-led housing allows groups to build affordable, good quality homes in their own communities, in places where they are really needed and are for people who really need them. They are often in areas where house prices are high and many of the existing properties are second homes.
In December 2017, Alok Sharma MP, then the Housing and Planning Minister, announced that the government was making available funding in England for the second year of the Community Housing Fund. This investment was much hoped-for in the community-led housing sector and, consequently, adds vigour to the sector, and boosts many of the projects that were started with the first year’s funds. Meanwhile, the Scottish Government’s support of community-led housing has been given a substantial boost with support from the Rural Housing Fund. It is with this growing demand in mind, that the Nationwide Foundation has given significant funding.
Of the six projects receiving funding from the Nationwide Foundation, two are providing support across England to help the community-led housing sector to grow, by standardising provision and ensuring wider reach. The National Community Land Trust Network will be establishing enabling support in places where it is not yet available, as well as professionalising the quality of advice that is given. In conjunction, Action with Communities in Rural England will deliver training to a network of advisors, raising their awareness and improving their knowledge of community-led housing.
The four other projects that the Nationwide Foundation is funding are regional support hubs which will all be able to strengthen and diversify the services that they currently offer. They are:
- Dumfries and Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust, working in the south of Scotland
- Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust, working in the central belt cities and everywhere north in Scotland
- Lincolnshire Community Land Trust CIC, covering East Midlands and south of the Humber
- Wessex Community Assets, covering Devon, Dorset and Somerset
The Nationwide Foundation’s chief executive, Leigh Pearce, says: “We envisage a future where community-led housing is thriving and where many more people, especially those in housing need, are living in homes that have been created by the community. Yet, we know that the availability of help can make or break whether a much-needed scheme can get off the ground. We want to ensure that community groups wanting to deliver community-led housing can realise their vision and ultimately enable local people to establish settled lives, close to family and employment.”
Notes to editors
Action with Communities in Rural England (Acre)
Grant of £78,750 for one year
Purpose of the grant: To deliver a national training programme for new advisors and other intermediaries in community-led housing. Acre aims to increase the number of professionals who have the confidence to offer a basic level of support and signposting to community-led housing groups and the knowledge to raise awareness of community-led housing.
National Community Land Trust Network (NCLTN)
Grant of £180,899 for two years
Purpose of the grant: To support the national infrastructure required to scale the community-led housing sector. Three national membership bodies – the NCLTN, the Confederation of Cooperative Housing and the UK Cohousing Network – will come together for the first time with an aim to move community-led housing from a niche emerging market to a mainstream housing option.
Dumfries and Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust (DGSCHT)
Grant of £136,877 for three years
Purpose of the grant: To strengthen its existing infrastructure hub through the funding of the Realising Affordable Rural Homes (RARH) project, which began in 2012 to develop community-led housing solutions across the south of Scotland. The aim of the RARH project is to increase the number of affordable homes in community ownership and to raise awareness of the benefits of community-led housing as a key contributor to the long-term sustainability of communities.
The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT)
Grant of £380,000 for five years
Purpose of the grant: To strengthen its existing infrastructure hub as it moves to becoming a self-sustaining organisation with a range of enabling support services. HSCHT is working in the central belt cities and everywhere north in Scotland. It aims to make community-led housing a mainstream option in the region to deliver affordable housing.
Lincolnshire Community Land Trust CIC (LCLT)
Grant of £228,000 for three years
Purpose of the grant: To extend and develop LCLT’s infrastructure support service across the East Midlands and south bank of the Humber. LCLT will create an enabling support service covering all forms of community-led housing. To reflect the expansion of LCLT’s service across the East Midlands enabled by this grant, Lincolnshire Community Land Trust is in the process of changing its legal name to East Midlands Community Led Housing CIC.
Wessex Community Assets (WCA)
Grant of £167,724 and programme related investment of £20,000 for three years
Purpose of the grant: To support a four-year project to strengthen the support for community-led housing in Devon, Dorset and Somerset through the expansion and development of the Wessex Community Land Trust Project to become a financially sustainable community-led housing infrastructure hub.