Anna Kear, Executive Director

Anna’s blog – July 2016

After almost three wonderful weeks travelling around France and living ‘en plein air’, enjoying several campsite shared meals with many nationalities, it was straight back into the thick of things with the final ESRC seminar at the London School of Economics, where I suddenly found myself as an impromptu speaker on housing finance.  The seminar was an opportunity to meet with new cohousing people and to catch up with some from previous seminars. I particularly enjoyed the session by Anna Dijkhuis, encapsulating her experience as an independent social enabler working with cohousing groups.

The following day was the Parliamentary Launch of the seminar series “Cohousing: Shared Futures” hosted by Richard Bacon MP, which was both moving, as Jo Cox MP was due to attend, and very positive. It was great to have so many cohousing groups and supporters travel to the event and contribute to the discussion. If you haven’t seen it already you can find out more here. There was also coverage in the Guardian.

Last week I was a speaker at the Ageing without Children (AWOC) conference in Birmingham where there was a great deal of interest in cohousing. I joined in the workshops thinking about how I want to live as I get older. Aspects of the conference were filmed for a BBC ‘Inside Out’ programme, and all the presentations are available here.

In London I met with Maria Brenton and Angela Ratcliffe to talk through the arrangements for the OWCH ‘official opening’ in the autumn. They have been shortlisted for the Housing Design awards, where I will be speaking at the pre·awards seminar with Maria and OWCH’s architect Patrick Devlin from Pollard Thomas Edwards on Monday before the awards ceremony in the evening. Fingers crossed for OWCH to win!

At the end of the week I attended a meeting with DCLG to discuss the Rural & Coastal Community Housing Fund, as part of the community led housing alliance. We briefed the Special Advisor to the Minister on how the fund could best work for community housing groups, to provide both revenue and capital funding. We are not sure when an announcement on this will be made – watch this space!

I love the diversity of this job, but I’m glad to have this week at home to catch up on paperwork and emails (apologies if anyone is still waiting to hear back from me – I will get back to you).

Please let us know if there is anything you would like us to cover in future newsletters and if you find this blog useful or not. We always welcome article contributions – this is your network.

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