A report into the lived experience of Community-Led Housing (CLH) schemes during the lockdown

New research into life in CLH during the coronavirus pandemic

See this page in: Cymraeg

In the words of one CLH resident:

I feel very fortunate to have been here for the lockdown as I have felt protected and supported, otherwise I would have been entirely on my own.  The support has been physical and psychological, and I have space to move around in.  We have experience in respecting each other’s wishes, which helped with social distancing.  These things are, I believe, unique to cohousing.”

In Autumn 2019, we published an initial piece of research ‘Assessing the benefits of living in Co-operative and/or Community Led Housing which put into words what we felt we already knew. Residents living in this type of housing do experience a large range of benefits from living in their schemes including a greater feeling of community and less feelings of loneliness and isolation. Since the first lockdown, the negative impacts of the restrictions including a decline in mental wellbeing and an increase in people feeling isolated have been widely reported and remain a concern.

At Communities Creating Homes, we were interested in understanding the lived experiences of people in CLH schemes during the lockdown and how much of their experience could be attributed to their co-operative and community roots.  We knew this would complement and build upon the first piece of research so we commissioned The Social Effectiveness Research Centre to ask these important questions. The picture that has been captured was a positive one telling us that many people living in CLH felt more supported and less isolated than they may have done in other types of housing.

During the pandemic, we have all seen media reports about community members who have galvanised themselves and perhaps we have ourselves been involved in activities supporting those who are vulnerable and less able. As a CLH hub, we have been impressed by how our clients have displayed co-operative values and helped their wider community.

The positive impacts that residents taking part in the research attributed to living in CLH as opposed to if they lived in other types of housing reflected these co-operative and community values and included:

  • Reduced isolation and loneliness
  • Greater financial security
  • Better physical living conditions (e.g., more outside space)
  • Reduced psychological/mental distress
  • Closer links to the wider community
  • Greater practical support (e.g. day to day tasks, shopping, etc…)

For more information about CLH and how your organisation can get involved contact the Communities Creating Homes team by emailing

co-op.housing@wales.coop

This research has been commissioned by Communities Creating Homes, which is delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre, with support from DTA Wales and is funded by the Nationwide Foundation and Welsh Government.