At its most fundamental, community led housing is about a group of people, who care about their local area, coming together to build homes. Yes, the clue really is in the name!
But it can mean other things as well, whether it’s an ambition to increase the number of affordable homes in an area, and allow the community to own the homes forever, as in the case of Bristol CLT’s Fishponds Road development, or to find new ways of creating sustainable homes, as in Ashley Vale Action Group’s self-build community.
These groups are defying the housing crisis as well as convention. They’re not waiting for homes to be built, but instead, getting on and building them themselves. They’re making sure that new developments reflect what local people really need and want, and often seek to incorporate the shared spaces we need for our communities to thrive.
Community led housing is something we think is worth supporting. It could develop more of the affordable homes our city needs. It could provide a new income stream for vital organisations such as our community centres. Ultimately, it exemplifies the community spirit and action that we seek to support.
Finding Our Focus
At BBRC we’ve been getting a better understanding of the local community led housing movement to see how we can support it. Over the past few months, we’ve been carrying out a study to understand the ambitions of different community led housing groups and what challenges they have faced to date.
We think there are 3 areas to focus on to enable more community led housing in our area:
1. Access to land
2. Access to finance
3. Access to skills and support
We’re working together with West of England Community Homes and Bristol City Council to offer more support in each of these 3 areas. For now this work is ‘under construction’ (pun intended), but over the next few months we’ll keep you updated on the developments and how you can get involved!