Affordable housing in Manchester is an unsolved problem affecting various communities across the area. More and more people see the point of community led housing but don’t know where to start. At the same time, many people don’t see it as possible.
Our aim is to show how to do it and encourage people to “have a go” themselves. The idea is to build a ‘community house’ first. This house would consist of library, workshop and b&B. This will show how its done, people and groups could learn how to do it themselves while attending learning sessions. There will be rooms where people could stay overnight, experience the warmth etc. This will generate interest and prove its possible.
Recently a piece of land was identified and I spoke to a planning officer in the council. This land was probably not available anymore but the officer has asked me to put in a formal proposal as other land may become available. The group is looking at asset transfer of land from the council – the devolution package in Manchester means there might be budget for this kind of thing. The land needs to be big enough for 10 small houses and a community house, and ideally somewhere vaguely in the North Manchester area. The buildings are just the beginning. The ambitions are to build community who would run a social enterprise. It will provide learning programme, workshops and offer B&B. In the group there are many skills we will use during the project. We have an architect, builders, project manager, fundraiser, community worker and artists. The project is about bringing communities together and bonding people around ecological ethos.
We will run Open Week in May including with Straw Works. We will show how to build using straw bales and learn about sustainable materials. We invited local community and groups and organisations from Manchester.