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Communities Creating Homes: the first year

Co-operative Housing Project Co-Manager David Palmer reflects on the progress Communities Creating Homes has made over the last year and outlines the project's next steps...

By Rhodri McDonagh · June 12, 2020

See this page in: Cymraeg

Over 8 years ago the Co-operative Housing project started, and at the supporting consultants induction day I spoke about ‘Action Learning’ for the project. The simple plan being that it was a single ball being pushed up a hill/slope by the Centre, and pulled by Welsh Government.

We acted and it developed into 3 Pioneer schemes, supported by Social Housing Grant at 25%, and the project grew.

 

After the initial impetus, we observed that some schemes/balls were rolling back-wards; so we reflected, and learnt that the schemes needed to be more community led.

Fast forward 6 years, we developed a Theory of Change, planned a more sophisticated model with checks & balances, and more resources, based on quality and quantity, evidenced by data.

 

 

This involves a holistic approach with the whole team, and communities working in co-operation to deliver homes.

From the baseline a year ago, we can measure the outputs and their impacts, and thereby inform the wider body of knowledge.

It is important that there is equal effort from all parties – it’s a two way process, and there needs to be people inside each project (ball/sphere) – Doers, Reflectors, Deciders and Thinkers – to keep the CLH movement going. Some groups haven’t initially got the right balance/mix, but it is about helping them to get some momentum and become self-sustaining. There also needs to be Influencers ‘pushing and pulling’ in the wider Community.

We have the right skills and experience within the Centre’s team, with a Monitoring and Evaluation officer, 3 Enablers and 2 co-Managers, augmented by DTA Wales in the ‘Explore’ (second) stage of the project’s 5 stage process. Whilst each scheme is different/bespoke, there are some standard/common factors which the project can learn from, and share through its networks – currently virtually, and get a critical mass. An example of this learning is that throughout the year we have collated a reoccurring issues log, which has been used to inform some of our Education and Influencing work during the year, and will help focus next year’s activities.

This network is not just in Wales, but across the UK, Europe and worldwide.

With the 250 anniversary of Robert Owen – born 1771, being next year, I am looking forward to a Co-operative Country/World.

Image sources:

1. https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/participatory-action-research

2. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/10/2/e036597