The birth of the Hub begins…

It’s great to have started this new role helping to establish a community-led housing hub to support new housing schemes across the region. April 1st was my start date, an ominous one given lockdown had just started, but over the past 2 months I have had the opportunity to really get under the skin of what’s happening in the sector nationally, and to start to make contacts locally. The picture is truly rosy on the banks of the Mersey.

Community-led housing projects come in all shapes and sizes, and there is a strong tradition in this region of schemes which have led the way in terms of innovation and community ownership. If we just think back to the growing housing co-op movement in the 70’s and 80’s there is a real sense of history in how communities have taken control of their own housing needs, and in recent years this has been supplemented by the emerging new housing models which give people more local control. Community Land Trusts have become more prominent, for example, providing a vehicle for communities to maintain ownership of their own assets. Alongside other community housing models, there is a real sense of creativity and renewal in how housing can be delivered right across the country.

And in this region, we have really seen some new thinking emerge in terms of how community-led housing schemes can breathe new life into local neighbourhoods. Just look at what Granby 4 Streets has achieved in Toxteth and Homebaked in Anfield! Community led projects with people at their heart, showing how important local people are to the sustainability of a neighbourhood. Anything can be achieved, is what they say to me, and we must promote the way these projects have developed with other communities right across our region.

Housing is about more than bricks and mortar; it’s about the neighbourhoods they sit within and the people that live in them. The community-led housing movement is an important new ingredient in the strategic approach to housing and neighbourhood renewal and we must continue to build and promote the excellent work taking place right here in the Liverpool City Region. The Hub will try and do just that.

Paul Kelly
Liverpool City Region Community-led Housing Hub
June 2020