Community Housing Fund empowering communities to deliver local affordable housing projects

Cotswold District Housing Fund – 4 November 2021

Cotswold District Council is working to promote alternative means of rural affordable housing provision by encouraging a new community-led housing approach.

As part of the Council’s commitment to delivering truly affordable housing for local people, the Council is looking to work alongside Community Land Trusts and other community-led housing groups to identify opportunities to deliver rural affordable housing to meet local need.

Cllr Lisa Spivey, Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness, said: “I’m thrilled that Cabinet has supported the Community Housing Fund (CHF) small grants scheme. This scheme will allow local communities to bid for funding and access the support they need to achieve their ambitions of delivering rural affordable housing in their areas so that local people can stay local.

“As a Council, we are working hard alongside housing associations to provide truly affordable homes across the district through a number of schemes, from new developments to regeneration schemes that will improve on affordable housing that is no longer fit for purpose.

“The CHF small grants scheme is an excellent tool that will empower local communities to deliver good quality social rented homes in their areas. Local communities know their areas best and this scheme will allow local people to ensure affordable housing is provided where it is needed most.”

The Community Housing Fund small grants scheme will be made available to community-led housing groups and established organisations to bid for a start-up grant of up to £1000 to assist groups in forming, gaining membership and incorporating and a pre-development grant of up to £10,000 to progress their project to the planning application stage.

The initial start-up fund is for new groups to help them get established and pay towards the costs of incorporation, legal advice, capacity building, publicity or general costs such as meeting room hire.

The pre-development grant is aimed at established incorporated groups in the site and planning stages of their housing development project. It is aimed at helping fund up-front costs which may be incurred in trying to bring housing projects forward. This could include the appointment of consultants, financial feasibility appraisals, solicitor’s fees, setting up a website or planning application fees.

In line with the Council’s community-led housing ethos, applications to the community housing fund will only be considered where they can demonstrate that they meet the following criteria:

  • That the community must be integrally involved in key decisions throughout the process;
  • Community groups play a long term role in ownership, management or stewardship of the homes;
  • Benefits to the local area and/or specified community must be clearly defined and legally protected in perpetuity.

For more information about the Community Housing Fund and apply for the CHF small grants scheme, please contact housing.strategy@cotswold.gov.uk