Five top tips for getting your community-led housing project started

Posted on the 11th September 2018

This blog was written by Zoe Goddard, Development Manager, Community-led Housing at Locality.

21 community-led housing (CLH) groups have been supported by the Early Stage Support Programme in partnership with Locality and the Nationwide Foundation. Over the last two years the groups have progressed their aspirations to create affordable homes that meet local community needs.

Taking learning from the support and the groups we’ve been working with, we’ve put together five top tips for getting your CLH project started:

1. Investigate a range of approaches

There is a spectrum of approaches to community-led housing and different roles that your group can decide to play. A CLH advisor can help your group to explore possibilities and their implications so that you can understand how best to meet your community’s needs.

2. Find inspiration and support from other groups

Visiting other CLH schemes can help you consider what is possible and can also lead to ongoing peer-to-peer learning opportunities.

Joining a national support network like Locality can help you to connect to other innovative CLH projects from around the country.

3. Wait until you are clear about your approach before you choose your legal structure

It is important to understand what legal form(s) will enable you to achieve your group’s aspirations before you incorporate. For example, if you would like to raise some funding through Community Shares, then there is a specific legal form you will need to adopt.

4. Capture the power of community!

A group of volunteers with a range of skills is essential to help drive your project forward, overcome obstacles and give funders and partners confidence to support your project.

Effective community engagement and accountability is also essential to develop local support for your project.

5. Develop positive relationships with key stakeholders early on

Developing positive relations can help with site finding, securing delivery partnerships, local funding and in-kind professional support. Local CLH enabler hubs are being developed in many parts of the country to help you engage with planning teams and landowners. Locality also has staff across the country that can help you to engage with the key movers and shakers.

About the Early Stage Support Programme

The Early Stage Support programme was designed in partnership with the Nationwide Foundation to provide the support required by new and existing community organisations at the start of their community-led housing (CLH) journey.

The Early Stage Support Programme ran from 2016 to 2018. It has provided 21 groups with a firm foundation to progress their aspirations to create affordable homes that meet local community needs.

The programme has shown that early stage professional advice, peer to peer learning and grant funding is essential to support both new startup groups and existing community organisations to progress CLH schemes.

The evaluation report illustrates the common types of support that groups need and provides case studies to illustrate the progress that groups made.

Download the programme Evaluation report (.pdf)

Need further support?

If you need support to progress your project or get started on new ways to provide the homes your community need, Locality can help.

Locality has a team of advisors around the country who have experience working with community organisations on a range of community-led housing and community ownership projects.

We can support your community-led housing group at every stage of the process to unlock the power in your community to build a fairer society.

How Locality can help

Not sure where to start?

My Community supports groups and organisations running community-led projects to build and strengthen communities across England.

My Community can help your project at every stage of the process, with free resources, case studies, step-by-step guides, helpful videos and links to different sources of funding.

How My Community can help

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