Blog authored by Polly Adams-Felton, Project Manager at the National CLT Network
Image of a meeting of SHICC's Strategic Committee in Lille, France in 2018.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought out a strong feeling of togetherness, through thick and thin, for all of us over the past seven months as we fight as communities against a common adversary. The power of community has also shone through in our work with our European partners.
Over the past three years, we’ve partnered with organisations working in affordable housing across North West Europe to develop a thriving community led housing movement in the region. This project, Sustainable Housing for Inclusive and Cohesive Cities (SHICC), has just won the Regiostars award for Citizens Engagement for Cohesive European Cities!
The Regiostars are Europe’s award to EU-funded projects which demonstrate excellence and new approaches in regional development. Recognition for the project by such an audience and on such a scale is further acceptance and promotion of the concept of CLTs and their value in addressing the affordable housing crisis across Europe.
Winning this award is the cherry on top of three fantastic years of the Network’s involvement in the SHICC project. Over the past three years, the partnership has delivered lobbying support for stakeholders across the region, international events, a European manifesto for developing the sector, a guide for developing CLTs and even supported 33 groups across the region through funding technical advice.
What the NCLTN has achieved:
- Hosted a transnational conference in London
- Built a social impact tool for groups
- Developed a lobbying pack for groups to use in building support for their projects
- Produced ten case studies of CLTs across Europe
- Set up and run an international grant scheme
- Appointed community led housing advisors across the region
This success of what the SHICC project started is so important to stakeholders in the sector -- leaders, groups on the ground, policy makers and more. The risks we took to connect with organisations we didn’t know has paid off. Catherine Harrington, our Co-Chief Executive, has been building relationships with international partners for a very long time in the belief that, as a sector, we are stronger together. After so much work and creativity, this has been proved.
The acknowledgement of the work of the SHICC project only reinforces our experiences at the national level and our vision for an international movement -- we are working towards a shared goal with shared ambitions and aspirations uniting the partners and strengthening the community of groups developing their homes and people are taking notice!
We can build on the success of our work across Europe and build on the momentum the Regiostars award has given us. We are a powerful, driven, purposeful community. In England, we are fighting once more for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to release funding that will allow groups to continue their projects and sustain the growth of the pipeline. All our work to date has shown the value for money of the sector (now proved in independent research) and the number of homes groups are delivering.
By coming together and using our collective power we can grow this movement to mainstream the community ownership of affordable housing and land -- the power of community knows no bounds.