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New funding boost for co-operative housing

The Wales Co-operative Centre has been awarded another £1 million over the next three years to support the development of co-operative and community-led housing in Wales.

The new programme Communities Creating Homes was launched at the Royal Welsh Show this week and follows on from the Co-operative Housing Project, which has spent over seven years investing time and resources to grow the co-operative and community led housing (CCLH) sector in Wales – supporting over 50 groups and developing 137 new CCLH homes.

With three years funding from the Nationwide Foundation and two years from the Welsh Government, the Wales Co-operative Centre has designed a programme that will work with communities and organisations across Wales to support the growth of the CCLH sector, to deliver more affordable housing for people in need.

Derek Walker, chief executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre, said:

‘Wales is facing a housing crisis, with many people not able to afford a home to buy or to rent. In response the Wales Co-operative Centre is helping people to come together to develop co-operative and community-led housing schemes, which can make housing more affordable.

‘We have been pleased with the level of interest. Many were previously not aware of this alternative model but they have quickly understood what’s on offer. It is a chance to make homes, not just houses, and to create ready-made communities.

‘The funding from the Nationwide Foundation and Welsh Government will help us provide a comprehensive package of support which is free of charge and tailored to the needs of each scheme. Whether you’re new to co-operative and community-led housing, have already formed a group or want to join an existing group, we have specialist experts that can help.’

The new programme will offer four stages of support with the aim to:

  • Increase awareness of CCLH models, to improve knowledge of available support and how to access it;
  • Facilitate networking between groups at similar stages of development;
  • Deliver a bespoke support programme throughout the life cycle of the project
  • Educate and influence key stakeholders to remove the known barriers to stimulate more CCLH development.

The early stage element of the programme will be delivered by the Development Trust Association Wales.

The Nationwide Foundation is an independent charitable funder which has a vision for everyone in the UK to have access to a decent home which they can afford. It is funding the Wales Co-operative Centre to strengthen, support and champion the growth of community-led housing, so that more people in housing need will benefit.

Gary Hartin, Nationwide Foundation’s programme manager, said:

‘Co-operative and community-led housing provides decent, affordable homes for people who need them, in places where they’re wanted. It has the energy and commitment of local people and creates a big impact for the communities in which it delivers homes.

‘In Wales, there is growing and clear demand for co-operative and community-led housing, so we welcome the commitment from the Welsh Government, which alongside our funding, will ensure it continues to flourish. In fact, we believe co-operative and community-led housing has the potential to become a mainstream option in Wales for delivering affordable homes.’

Housing and local government minister Julie James said:

‘The Welsh Government remains very committed to community-led housing in Wales, which enables the community to be integrally involved in decision making about their homes.

‘Building more affordable housing and providing people with safe, warm and secure homes is a key priority for this Welsh Government. I’m looking forward to watching it grow and flourish and contribute towards our commitment to build 20,000 affordable homes during this Assembly term.”

‘I am pleased we are able to expand the support available through the Wales Co-operative Centre in conjunction with The Nationwide Foundation. The demand for co-operative and community-led housing in Wales is growing – and this fantastic project will benefit from £270,000 over the next two years.”

Wales Co-operative Centre is also delivering a sister project in Powys to help residents develop their own cohousing schemes. Cohousing is a cluster of private or rented homes grouped around a shared community space.

To find out more about co-operative and community-led housing, visit: wales.coop/co-operative-community-led-housing/


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