In recent years it's become clear that while there are different ways of doing community led housing, be it a community land trust, cohousing or the co-operative movement, the motivations for groups are remarkably similar: normal people want to create a better way of living for themselves and others.
That’s why, in 2019, the National CLT Network formally joined forces with other leading community led housing organisations, Locality, the Confederation of Co-operative Housing (CCH) and the UK Cohousing Network (UKCN) to form Community Led Homes.
Community Led Homes exists to make community led housing a mainstream housing option. We provide training and practical support to local groups, enablers, councils and developers. By bringing people together from the grassroots to those in power, communities can create the homes they want and need.
Community Led Homes has benefited from funding and support from Power to Change, the Nationwide Foundation as well as a £6 million grant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) as part of the Community Housing Fund, awarded for the delivery of the Community Housing Fund Sector Support Project.
Community Led Homes delivered a national infrastructure programme funded by MHCLG between 2018 - March 2020. This was established to:
- Increase the scale and capacity of the national network of professional local advisors (enablers) to support community groups;
- Create a national advisory service to help inform prospective groups;
- Deliver a programme of “seedcorn” grants to enable community groups to incorporate or register as a social provider.
Just some of the successes of the partnership:
Providing grants to groups to start out, to expand or to attain Registered Provider status has greatly increased the size of the movement and its reputation as a viable alternative path to delivering the affordable homes that communities want and need. This support has been essential in getting groups past those initial stages and accelerating their progress into accessing other funding and finance.
The partnership has successfully supported 26 enabler hubs in England, giving access to expertise up and down the country so almost anyone anywhere can get help starting or continuing a community led housing project if they want to. 31 grants were awarded to enabler hubs so they could be in a position to support groups. This also included access to shared resources like business planning advice, peer learning or access to specialist financial appraisal software.
- The National Advice Centre (NAC) including the CLH website has created simplified pathways for groups to access advice.
The website has over 80 resources, including 17 newly commissioned resources. In its first year, the team received around 800 enquiries and the website has been used by around 50,000 people.
This has allowed for analysis of the pipeline of community led housing projects, creating valuable information to convince key stakeholders of the strength and future of the movement.
- The CLH Adviser Training and Accreditation Programme has professionalised the movement and created a core of 119 accredited advisers.
The partnership’s programme has meant many more advisers have been trained to a high level on the technical aspects of community led housing development. That network can confidently provide advice to community led housing groups at various stages of the process all over England.
Samantha Jones, Head of Community Led Homes, said:
I am proud of the work we have achieved through the Community Led Homes Programme in a relatively short space of time. By working together, the partners have been able to put in place a solid foundation for the growth of the community led housing movement as a whole and to support communities delivering affordable housing across England. I cannot wait to see what the next chapters of the Community Led Homes partnership will bring.
Learn more about the partners, the partnership and the wide range of resources it has to offer via its website, communityledhomes.org.uk.