Monday 21st October 2019

WISH South West - Autumn Newsletter

Read the latest WISH South West newsletter!

WISH South West event on 17th September was held at Alliance Homes with guest speakers Cathryn Vallender and Stuart Francis-Dubois who shared their experience on  #People and #placemaking.

Some unseen Placemaking challenges for Housing Associations and Social Housing Providers emerged:

  • How do you create a community when people can’t get out and meet?
  • How do you get people out meeting if you can’t even walk across the read to the shops because the Zebra crossing will not arrive for the next 18 months?
  • How can you create a stable community when you can’t be sure how the new people moving in will fit in and build a life there- 
  • How do you build a stable life in a new community when you cant get to work or college from a new estate that is not on a bus route yet, and is too far away to walk.

Cathryn Vallender spoke about the placemaking challenges faced by a large housing association with a mix of mature and new estates. She shared Alliance’s sometimes surprising resident satisfaction survey results, which used questions about how residents feel about where they live, whether they feel safe in their neighbourhood and proud of it, to indicate quality of life. People from a well-known estate which has had its share of issues in the past were among the most satisfied and many reported feeling safe in their community.

Stuart Francis-Dubois of Tamar Housing Association talked about their distinctive approach. As a smaller Housing Association, they have taken the opportunity to be more flexible and innovative: working with Rentplus has enabled the association to provide more houses and offer the aspiration that tenants could own their own homes in the future.

Their team works with the philosophy 'nothing about us without us' and sees everyone as having a value and valuable expertise - we are all an expert in our own experience. They have been training people who have experienced homelessness to share their expertise and support with others for mutual benefit.


Lessons learned:

Architects and urban designers see Placemaking as making a physical place that will allow a community to develop. It is clear that while careful design and quality construction are important to avoid the pitfalls of the past, the things that make a community thrive and prosper are harder to see. These were themes developed more in an open floor session.

  • The need to develop mixed tenures and a mixed community of people at different stages of life.
  • The changes in the types of supported housing which is affordable and appropriate 
  • The challenge of supporting young people in moving to independence safely and learning how to live in a community and take part.
  • The need for housing associations and local authorities to use more care in selecting suitable homes for care leavers and vulnerable adults.
  • The challenge local authorities have in seeing ahead (by using up to date information) to encourage appropriate mix and type of housing development.
  • The fact that delays in completing infrastructure and community facilities affect some groups disproportionately - It is harder to get and keep work if you can not easily get to town- hard to walk or get a bus, it is harder for parents of small children and retired people to meet and socialise in the community if it's not safe to cross the road, or if community facilities are opened long after the development is completed.

100 years of social housing in Bristol

It is 100 years since the Addison act, aiming to solve the housing crisis of a century ago with good quality healthy homes. Some of the first developments were built in areas like Sea Mills, Knowle and Hillfields.

Women in Bristol have had a pivotal role in the development and design of social housing, which led to the Addison Act. Since the 1800s women like Hilda Cashmore of the Barton Hill Settlement (set up in 1909) and quaker campaigners noticed the  disproportionately adverse effect on women of lack of access to healthy safe housing.  A legacy to be proud of in the Southwest. The publication 'Homes for Heroes' is available for free at the link below. It’s a fun informative read.

A fascinating history of 100 years of social housing in Bristol:


Coming Soon! 

Our Christmas networking event be held on 5th December at Horts, Broad Street Bristol, 4pm -8pm with a raffle in aid of Help Homeless Bristol. Solely funded by donations this group provide outreach to homeless in Bristol and provide hot meals, support, clothing and welfare packs. Watch this space for booking details!

Next year we have fantastic events for Women who have a passion for social housing, including Mentoring, Wellbeing, Networking, and more expertise in Housing. Future events are always based on the great feedback we get from WISH event participants. We look forward to seeing you there!

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