In a year characterised by division, our 2018 has been rich in community and cooperation. The co-op has almost doubled in size, welcoming new-starters Lucy, Emma and Katie and Nadhira back from maternity leave.
Together we’ve moved the T/D studio to be part of growing the wonderful Makespace Oxford community in Jericho, which is fast becoming a community of like-minded creators, change-makers and friends. As Oxford’s only truly affordable working and making space, Makespace is now full and home to nearly thirty purpose-driven organisations.
Through the Makespace ‘meanwhile’ approach, bringing unloved buildings back into community use, we’ve also opened ‘Open House’ a ‘public talking shop on housing and homelessness’ on Little Clarendon street.
Homelessness is the issue facing Oxford right now and because of this we’re focussing heavily on the provision of truly-affordable housing and demonstrating how creative, community-led and co-designed solutions can help.
Our ‘How to Build a House’ class for Crisis Members is now running weekly, introducing practical skills and community-led housing to people with a lived experience of homelessness. Our hope is that some of these people will get involved in Oxfordshire’s community-led development over the next year and we’re working hard to create new opportunities to make this possible.
We’re continuing our work providing technical advice to members of the Community Land Trusts Network, working with eight groups across the South of England to help them progress along their journey to affordable and community-led housing. We’ve also helped to set up a citizen-led housing ‘hub’ for the Thames Valley region and completed work commissioned by Oxford City Council to explore routes to delivering more community-led housing in the city.
Along with design and build support for Makespace Oxford and Open House, our architecture team have completed a low-impact extension and barn conversion for Manor Farm, a family home in Oxford, building on our experience of delivering beautiful, green buildings.
Earlier in the year, in partnership with Bioregional we delivered the final stage of the One Planet Affordable Living (OPAL) project, a 3-year action research project encouraging low-impact and community-led housing development. We are now offering services to new community housing groups via our OPAL approach.
We’ve got some very exciting announcements to make in the New Year about the Community Housing Fund and the provision of truly-affordable and community-led housing. Keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter or sign up to our mailing list for the latest updates.
Nadhira, Alex, Katie, Andy, Emma, Charlie & Lucy