Wales is witnessing a rebirth of co-operative housing, Keith Edwards told delegates at the CCH conference. A particular emphasis is being placed on the Community Housing Mutual model, which is based on co-operative principles.
Mr Edwards is the Director of the Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru that has 1,200 members across Wales and works to shape housing and community agendas. At the conference, he described the Community Housing Mutual model, which has continued to grow in Wales ever since it was introduced by the Welsh Assembly in 2001.
In its Housing White Paper, the Welsh Government committed to delivering 500 new homes through co-operative housing, as part of achieving its affordable housing target by 2016. Housing is now one of the Welsh government’s priorities and Community Housing Mutuals have been set up in many local authority areas throughout Wales as a result of stock transfer from local councils.
As part of the Community Housing Mutual model, membership is open to tenants, families and local residents and there is a constitutional commitment to involvement and regeneration, innovative multi-million pounds procurement process.
There are currently three pioneer projects in Wales, that the Wales Co-operative Centre is supporting the development of, in Newport, Cardiff and Carmarthenshire, with a further 17 potential co-operative housing schemes being considered.
The Community Housing Model is similar to what in England is known as the Community Gateway Model, which the CCH helped develop as a new way of thinking for council housing stock transfer. The aim is to enable small-scale communities and co-operative activity within large-scale housing organisations. Membership organisations, Community Gateways encourage the involvement of tenants in decision-making about their homes and neighbourhoods. A Community Gateway Association was also set up in 2005.
- For more stories from the Confederation of Co-operative Housing 2014 conference, click here