Community Led Housing Fest 2021

Join us at Communities Creating Homes second annual community-led housing festival, CLHFest21, which takes place between Monday 18th October and Thursday 21st October. 

See this page in: Cymraeg

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Through a mix of webinars, panel discussions and workshops, the conference will explore how we can continue to grow the community-led housing movement in Wales and deliver more affordable housing for local people, creating resilient, sustainable and cohesive communities. 

  • What is Community Led Housing?

    Community-led housing schemes can come in a variety of forms, but fundamentally it means when a community takes a leading and lasting role in providing housing solutions – whether that’s through building a new property, taking over existing properties, or protecting existing affordable housing stock. There are multi-faceted benefits to this model, for the residents, providers and communities as a whole.

What’s on

Take a look below at the events taking place for Community Led Housing Fest 2021 and book your place today!


10:00-11:30 Co-designing communities

Placemaking involves a holistic approach to the planning and design of development and spaces, adding social, economic, environmental, and cultural value to development proposals resulting in benefits that go beyond physical characteristics. This session will explore the role communities can play in planning, delivering, and managing vibrant places. We’ll be joined by Katherine Quigley, Social Investment Manager at the Nationwide Building Society, who will share her experience of community organising on their new eco-friendly development of 239 homes in Swindon; Aimee Felstead, PhD researcher from the University of Sheffield, to give us a practical example of how cohousing schemes can get involved in placemaking; and Jackson Moulding, Director of Ecomotive/SNUG Homes programme, a customisable self-finish-able, modular eco-home, aimed at providing a more affordable route for a low-carbon low-impact home. 

Book your place here

14:00-15:30  Diversity and inclusion

Join us as we discuss how a broad and diverse range of communities can benefit from CLH with speakers including Claude Hendrickson (Leeds Community Homes), Maria Brenton (OWCH/Own Place) and the Pride of Place project.

Book your place here


10:00-11:30 Taking back control

Land ownership and the cost of land is accelerating the housing crisis in Wales. Join us for a discussion on how land in Wales can be better utilised to provide more affordable housing for local people. We’ll hear about how community-led housing schemes in Scotland have taken advantage of the community right to buy and how some local authorities across the UK are developing innovative land disposal policies for community developments. 

Book your place here

18:30-20:00 Communities Creating Change

Join us to explore why it’s important to engage with your community and how to approach community engagement.  Paul Stepcazk, Bids and Commercial Consultant at Wales Co-operative Centre, will provide practical advice and guidance on identifying your own skills to help you engage with the surrounding community, identify key people to talk to and share the tools you need for a successful engagement plan.   

We’ll also be joined by Nudge Community Builders who are a great example of how local volunteers engaging with their community can achieve amazing things.  Nudge Community Builders was set up by local people to grow and build on their knowledge and experience to make a real difference in their area to make sure that the community benefits from changes in a unique and special way.  They’ve transformed run-down buildings in Plymouth to create community-led spaces in a way that invests in the surrounding community every step of the way.   

Book your place here


10-11 Community-led housing 101

Join Claire from the Communities Creating Homes team to discuss how Community-Led Housing can bring people together to decide what kind of homes and communities they want to live in.  We’ll be talking about different Community-Led Housing models, sharing some case studies and giving you an opportunity to talk about what you want to do.

Book your place here

11:30-12:30 Wayshaper Demo

Join us for a demo of the latest tool to help groups develop their community-led housing plans. 

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14:00-15:00 Influencing your local LDP

Anyone can get involved in local planning by responding to the Local Development Plan for their area.  This practical session will help you identify how and when to effectively exercise your influence on local planning policies including housing, the environment and local infrastructure.  Join us and Planning Aid Wales to hear about how getting involved in the development of the Local Development Plan at an early stage can help community-led housing groups build a positive relationship with their Local Planning Authority. 

Book your place here

15:30-16:30 Social Media and Community Engagement

Social media can be a powerful tool for community-led housing groups to recruit members and supports, to share their story and to engage with their community. This webinar, delivered by Nick Moylon, Digital Communities Wales Training officer, will:

  • Discuss the benefits of social media for community engagement.
  • Give an overview of different social media platforms and their strengths for connecting with an audience.
  • Discuss privacy and online safety when using social media platforms.

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Wednesday evening of the festival is Co-op’s Night!

Someone you know once knew someone whose brother’s best friend’s girlfriend lived in a housing co-op. This is how word spreads about housing co-ops in the UK. Unlike in Europe where they are MASSIVE, very popular and completely Normal. So what the heck is a co-op and who lives in them? Radicals, hippies or just ordinary every day folk who love a more sociable affordable homelife. Well, to be a honest, a mixture. There’s also students who don’t want to be ripped off by private landlords making a profit from their debt and retiree’s who want a bit more care and companionship with their housing.

In short housing co-ops can be for a time in your life or the whole of your life. Your needs may change but they will always be there. They’re owned by the collective and the mantle of ownership is passed on from generation to generation. They help you learn about life, housing and community. And no matter at what stage in life you’re at there’s always something new to learn.

Housing Co-op night is about getting you started, expanding your knowledge, bringing people and projects together. If you want to set up a housing co-op, are already in one and want to build your knowledge or just want to find out what’s going on, join us. Our mission is to empower you to create successful housing co-ops, and we’ve brought together some of the people who can help make that happen. You can come all night or just drop in when you can. Feel free to bring food, drinks. Super chilled. Open to all, wherever you are in the UK.

Wednesday Evening Line-up

18:45-19:45 Setting up a student housing co-op

Simin Wadiwala introduces co-ops, housing co-ops and student housing co-ops. This session has a focus on student housing co-ops but will be relevant to anyone who wants to learn something new about housing co-ops.

19:45 – 20:00 Break, chat, chill

20:00-21:00 Financing a CLH scheme

Financing your housing co-op with Andy Woodcock. Housing co-ops need a financial plan and most of us know very little about finance! Andy is here to let you know what you need to think about and how to plan for long term success.

21:00 – 21:30 Chat & Questions

Stick around for a chat and questions. Hosted by Allan Shepherd.

Our speakers

Simin Wadiwala is part of the new generation of co-operators working to create new models of housing to combat the housing crisis and tackle underlying inequalities in housing. She is part of Student Co-op Homes and Seasalt Student Housing Co-operative in Brighton. Her talk will focus on student co-op homes but will be relevant for anyone who wants to know what a housing co-op is and how to go about starting one.

Andy Woodcock is part of Catalyst Collective and Radical Routes. They act as an advisor to Co-ops UK and the Wales Co-operative Centre amongst others and have supported many housing co-ops to create a sound financial plan. Andy delivers training sessions on financing for projects ranging from small housing co-ops to multiple dwelling new-builds. Tonight’s session will focus on co-op financing. How to make it work. What you need to think about.

Allan Shepherd will be hosting Co-op’s Night. Allan is a Community Led Housing Officer for the Wales Co-operative Centre. He lived in housing co-ops for about a decade and has recently supported Wales’ newest housing co-op Tir Cyffredin to raise the money they need to buy their house.

The Wales Co-operative Centre is supported by Welsh Government and the Nationwide Foundation to deliver more affordable housing in Wales. We support groups based in Wales through our client programmes but this session is relevant to the whole of the UK.

Book your place here


11-12.30 Q&A with Julie James / the future of CLH panel discussion

Join us for a discussion on the future of community-led housing in Wales. We’ll be hearing about how the CLH movement is being scaled up across the UK, while Julie James, Minister for Climate Change will be outlining for vision to grow the movement in Wales.

The Minister will be joined by Padraig Flynn and Tom O’Donnell from Self Organised Architecture, who have produced a Roadmap to a viable Community Led Housing in Ireland, as well as Trevor James, an experienced advocate for CLH and Chair of, who will take us through the progress toward a thriving CLH sector in the Netherlands.

Book your place here

14:00-15:30 Sustaining Welsh Communities

Following another Summer of staycationing, Wales has seen the biggest rise in house prices in the UK, which some say is a direct result of the rise in second/holiday homes. Pressures are being most acutely felt in coastal and rural areas, where some locals can no longer afford to live in their communities. Combined with increased demand for rural living as a result of more people embracing working from home, it seems getting on the property ladder has never been more difficult.

Community-led housing can be a part of the solution. Local people taking a leading role in housing delivery and greater control over housing stock can lead to more active, cohesive, and resilient communities. Join us as we hear from communities across Wales who are taking action to tackle the crisis and develop their own innovative solutions to deliver more affordable housing for local people.

Book your place here

18:30-20:00 Case study/networking session

Communities across Wales are getting together to create their own housing projects and we’re very pleased to introduce six of them at our network event on Thursday October 21. We have groups from South, Mid and North Wales representing the breadth of approaches and opportunities for community led housing, from housing co-op’s through to community land trusts and a One Planet Development (OPD) project. Each group is at a different stage of development – forming, seeking planning permission, moving in, established and expanding. What does it feel to create and live in community? This is a chance to explore and learn from others who are doing it. The session will include break-out rooms for networking and chat.

Forming – visions, values and decision making

  • Gwyr Community Land Trust – Looking for land and financing to build 10 affordable homes
  • Bedwen Fach community OPD project – Creating a group one planet development project in Carmarthenshire

Community engagement – housing need and planning permissions

  • Aberdyfi Community Housing Trust – Affordable housing and work-spaces in a second home hotspot
  • Down to Earth Pantmaenog housing project – Affordable mixed-use development to support forest housing and work.

Moving in and expanding – now we’re living in it what are we learning?

  • Tir Cyffredin Housing Co-op, Machynlleth – Wales’ newest affordable housing co-op
  • Golem Housing Co-op, Swansea – Two-house urban housing co-op with rents pegged to Local Housing Allowance rates.

Book your place here

Want to find out more about Community Led Housing?

Take a look at the Communities Creating Homes page and get in touch with our team today!