Chief Executives' blog: time to take stock

Thursday 23 April 2020

Mike Erskine

A blog authored by the Co-Chief Executives of the National CLT Network, Catherine Harrington and Tom Chance

This year will mark ten years since the National CLT Network was set up by the pioneers in our movement.

It's a good time to take stock.

The current Coronavirus crisis is also making us all reflect on the need for strong communities. Surviving the virus, the loss of income, the isolation is much easier with the support of family, friends and neighbours, and in communities that rally around to support the vulnerable.

We both work for the National CLT Network because we believe in the power of communities - to build and refurbish homes, and to build cohesive and resilient communities.

We also share an ambition for how the charity works.

We want the charity to have a transformative effect - to mainstream CLTs and community led housing into the land and housing markets. In Berlin, one in six homes is built by local community housing groups because they have well established local market infrastructure - technical support, finance, access to land - recognised and aided by the city government and private sector.

We are starting to see this emerge in the UK. In Bristol, for example, the City Council has adopted policies to support the local enabler hub, release sites at prices that maximise social value, and facilitate access to grants and loans. The Community Housing Fund has invested in enabler hubs covering almost the whole of England, and grown the pipeline of homes from 5,810 to over 23,000 in a few years. More housing associations and developers are partnering with, and even initiating, CLTs.

We also believe in the power of our amazing staff and trustees. So over the past six months, we have co-produced our new strategic business plan for 2020-23. We are changing the way we work to give all staff more autonomy in directing their work to have maximum impact. They can flex to focus on the outcomes we want to bring about, rather than being fixed on project plans drawn up by someone else several years ago.

Last and not least, we believe in the power of collaborating and cooperating with others in our movement, and our friends outside it. So we are publishing our strategic business plan and inviting others to have a conversation with us about how we can deliver this together - enabler hubs, corporate partners, other community led housing organisations, funders, and others in the community, housing and land sectors.

It’s working. We’re delighted to have been awarded further funding over the next three years from the Nationwide Foundation. The Nationwide Foundation envisages a future where there is a thriving community led housing movement. They believe our work at the Network is playing a crucial role in making this a reality.

We hope you are inspired by our plan, and that it helps you understand our direction and where we might work together. We look forward to where the next ten years might take us together.


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