Community-Led Housing Scheme delivering housing for the community, by the community

Representatives from Town and Parish Councils, Community Land Trusts, Housing Associations and members of the public met on Monday 10th June at the West Dean Centre in Bream, to hear about opportunities for community led housing in the Forest of Dean.

Across the country, Community-Led Housing schemes are delivering new housing to meet the needs of the local community, through homes that are owned or managed by the community. Community-Led Housing involves local people playing a leading and lasting role in solving local housing problems, creating affordable homes and strong communities. Community Led Housing has growing widespread support, particularly in the South West. Initially in response to local people being priced out of the market due to the level of second homes. The Government has set aside a series of new funding initiatives to support the growth of the movement.

The event was opened by Councillor Di Martin, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing at the Forest of Dean District Council. Lois Taylor, Community Led Housing Enabler, explained what Community-Led Housing is and the different models that exist, including Community Land Trusts, Co-Housing and Co-operatives. Colin McDonald, Community-Led Housing Enabler, explained the role of Homes England, the national agency which supports the creation of new affordable housing through the distribution of funding from central Government. Angharad Hodge from Two Rivers Housing explained how her organisation is working to create homes for local people in rural areas and how Housing Associations can work in partnership with Community Land Trusts and other local groups.

The event also heard from Tom Low from the Eastington Community Land Trust, near Stroud. He relayed his experiences from the point of view of the local community describing the benefits they had gained from taking this approach but also cautioning others to be realistic in their expectations.

Councillor Martin said “I am delighted at the number of people who came to the special event about Community-Led Housing and the enthusiasm that was in the room. Access to safe, secure housing that is truly affordable is fundamental to being able to take advantage of life’s other opportunities and therefore essential to the well being of the individual, the family or household and the community. By the end of the event those who came had a better idea of what they might be able to do for their community and how to go about it. I hope we sent them away enthused and ready for the challenges ahead”

Anybody interested in community led housing should contact the community led housing enablers, Lois Taylor 01285 623397 lois.taylor@publicagroup.uk or Colin McDonald: 01285 623248 colin.mcdonald@publicagroup.uk 

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