Student’s need a better deal on housing. Here’s why and what we can do about it. Join us Oct 20 to find out more.

During the pandemic numerous independent student-led rent strikes sprang up across the UK in protest against rip-off landlords and excessive housing costs for students. The idea of paying over-the-top prices for accommodation that they couldn’t use during extended lock-downs was the final straw. But what next? A few students are taking matters in to their own hands and setting up housing co-op’s. They set their own rents and make their own decisions about who they’ll live with and what they’ll do to the house.

Managing your own housing co-op with a group is empowering. A power that can be carried through life. In my blog ten days to save Tir Cyffredin Housing Co-op I talked about the powerful difference living in a housing co-op made to my life. I lived in them in my mid-twenties, early thirties and mid-forties. And each time they came at the right moment for me. Pushing me on for the next stage in life.

So what’s not to like? The extra work-load is not for everyone, and setting housing co-ops from scratch can take months of admin, fundraising, member finding and learning on a very steep curve. Not necessarily what you can do when you’re just starting University, learning how to live away from home and just living. That’s why some groups are working with larger community organisations with paid staff who can do some of the heavy lifting and community engagement to get projects off-the ground and provide financing.

The community organisation can own the house or houses and lease it/them to the housing co-op. This leverages community support whilst giving students the autonomy they need to make their own decisions. Housing co-ops rarely fail but if one did for any reason the community organisation would own the house and be able to offer it to another housing co-op or in the worse case scenario sell it and give the community investors their money back.

This is the model used by Student Co-op Homes in England and most recently delivered by SEASALT Housing Co-op in Brighton, a city with a notorious shortage of affordable rentals. There’s no doubt this is a long-term project but student housing co-op’s are very common in countries like Canada so we know that it can work, given the right attention. That’s why we have invited Simin Wadiwala from SEASALT and Student Co-op Homes and Andy Woodcock from Catalyst Collective to share their knowledge at our Co-op’s Night event on October 20.

This event has the potential to kick start something completely new so please share the info if you know or are a student. It’s organised as part of the Wales Co-operative’s Community Led Housing Festival (Oct 18-21). Let people know. If you want to advocate for student housing co-op’s then come along too. We need allies to move this forward. Diolch yn fawr!

Read more here or book now.

Housing as if you mattered: Learn how to set up and finance a housing co-op on October 20

Wow, October here you are. September was a stellar month for housing co-ops. I was so excited to watch Tir Cyffredin housing co-op in Machynlleth reach and exceed their £140,000 fundraising goal and to see the first members of SEASALT student housing co-op move into their new home in Brighton.

It’s great to celebrate these moments of joy, progress and achievement and at the same time recognise that we’re only just scratching the surface of the housing crisis. It’s October and many people have had a whole summer waiting for answers. How will we carry on living in our communities? Get a good start in life with less debt? Move into safe secure housing when we get older? The housing question is a life’s work. A challenge that never goes away and one that seems to get harder with every passing month.

I love being part of the work that we all need to do, but housing co-ops are still one of the UK’s best kept housing secrets. Ask people if they know about housing co-op’s and a few might reply. ‘Someone I once knew once knew someone whose brother’s best friend’s girlfriend lived in a housing co-op.’ This is not the case in Europe and North America where housing co-ops are very popular and completely normal. Most people in the UK don’t know what housing co-ops are, who they are for or how to start one.

This is why I’ve created Co-op’s Night to run on October 20 as part of the Wales Co-operative Centre’s Community Led Housing Festival 2021. To give people a head’s up and a head start. I will be joined by leading co-operators Simin Wadiwala and Andy Woodcock and together we’ll explore the landscape, with bright lights! You can come all night or just drop in when you can. Feel free to bring food and drink. The evening will be very informative but also chilled. The only thing you definitely need to do is check the times (below) and book a place via Eventbrite!

Co-op’s Night is about getting you started, expanding your knowledge, bringing people and projects together. If you want to set up a housing co-op, are already in one and want to build your knowledge or just want to know what’s going on, join us.

My mission is to empower people to create successful housing co-ops so that housing co-op’s can empower the people who live in them. My experience is that it takes a village to raise a co-op so if you are already housed and not looking to move into a housing co-op come along anyway. You are needed. As advocates, allies, funders and knowledge sharers. Neither Tir Cyffredin or SEASALT would have been possible without the already housed stepping up and joining in. Be the village, create the change. See you on the 20th!

I live in Wales and through the Wales Co-operative Centre support groups in Wales but Co-op’s Night is open to all, wherever you are in the world! Croeso pawb i noson gydweithredu. Diolch yn fawr.

CLH Fest 2021 is happening October 18 – 21. View the whole festival programme here

ac yn Gymraeg

Full details

18:45-19:45 Simin Wadiwala introduces co-ops, housing co-ops and student housing co-ops. This session has a focus on student housing co-ops but will be relevant to anyone who wants to learn something new about housing co-ops.

19:45-20:00 Break, chat, chill

20:00-21:00 Financing your housing co-op with Andy Woodcock. Housing co-ops need a financial plan and most of us know very little about finance! Andy is here to let you know what you need to think about and how to plan for long-term success.

21:00-21:30 Stick around for a chat and questions. Hosted by Allan Shepherd.

This event will take place on Zoom. You will receive the joining instructions by email shortly before the event. Please remember to check your spam and junk mail for these instructions if you do not receive them.

18:45 – 19:45 Bydd Simin Wadiwala yn cyflwyno cydweithfeydd, cydweithfeydd tai, a chydweithfeydd tai ar gyfer myfyrwyr. Bydd y sesiwn yma yn ffocusi ar gydweithfeydd tai myfyrwyr ond bydd yn ddefnyddiol ar gyfer unrhywun sydd eisiau dysgu rhywbeth newydd am gydweithfeydd tai.

19:45 – 20:00 Egwyl, sgwrsio, ymlacio

20:00 – 21:00 Cyllido eich cydweithfa tai gyda Andy Woodcock. Mae cydweithfeydd tai angen cynllun cyllid ac mae mwyafrif ohonon ni ond yn gwybod ychydig am gyllid! Mae Andy yma i adael i chi wybod beth mae angen meddwl amdan a sut i gynllunio ar gyfer llwyddiant tymor hir.

21:00 – 21:30 Sgwrsio a chwestiynau gydag Allan Shepherd.

Our speakers

Simin Wadiwala is part of the new generation of co-operators working to create new models of housing to combat the housing crisis and tackle underlying inequalities in housing. She is part of Student Co-op Homes and Seasalt Student Housing Co-operative in Brighton. Her talk will focus on student co-op homes but will be relevant for anyone who wants to know what a housing co-op is and how to go about starting one.

Andy Woodcock is part of Catalyst Collective and Radical Routes. They act as an advisor to Co-ops UK and the Wales Co-operative Centre amongst others and have supported many housing co-ops to create a sound financial plan. Andy delivers training sessions on financing for projects ranging from small housing co-ops to multiple dwelling new-builds. Tonight’s session will focus on co-op financing. How to make it work. What you need to think about.

Allan Shepherd will be hosting Co-op’s Night. Allan is a Community Led Housing Officer for the Wales Co-operative Centre. He lived in housing co-ops for about a decade and has recently supported Wales’ newest housing co-op Tir Cyffredin to raise the money they need to buy their house.

The Wales Co-operative Centre is supported by Welsh Government and the Nationwide Foundation to deliver more affordable housing in Wales. We support groups based in Wales through our client programmes but this session is relevant to the whole of the UK.

Ein siaradwyr

Mae Simin Wadiwala yn rhan o’r genhedlaeth newydd o gydweithredwyr sy’n gweithio i greu modelau tai newydd i frwydro yn erbyn yr argyfwng tai a mynd i’r afael ag anghydraddoldebau sylfaenol mewn tai. Mae hi’n rhan o Student Co-op Homes a Seasalt Student Housing Co-operative yn Brighton. Bydd ei sgwrs yn canolbwyntio ar gartrefi cydweithredol myfyrwyr ond bydd yn berthnasol i unrhyw un sydd eisiau gwybod beth yw cydweithfa dai a sut i fynd ati i ddechrau un.

Mae Andy Woodcock yn rhan o Catalyst Collective a Radical Routes. They act as an advisor to Co-ops UK and the Wales Co-operative Centre amongst others and have supported many housing co-ops to create a sound financial plan. Mae Andy yn cyflwyno sesiynau hyfforddi ar ariannu ar gyfer prosiectau sy’n amrywio o gydweithfeydd tai bach i adeiladau newydd i nifer o anheddau. Bydd sesiwn heno yn canolbwyntio ar ariannu cydweithredol. Sut i wneud iddo weithio. Beth sydd angen i chi feddwl amdano.

Bydd Allan Shepherd yn cynnal Noson Cydweithredol. Mae Allan yn Swyddog Tai Dan Arweiniad y Gymuned ar gyfer Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru. Bu’n byw mewn cydweithfeydd tai am oddeutu degawd ac yn ddiweddar mae wedi cefnogi cydweithfa dai fwyaf newydd Cymru, Tir Cyffredin i godi’r arian sydd ei angen arnynt i brynu eu tŷ.

Cefnogir Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru gan Lywodraeth Cymru a Sefydliad Nationwide i ddarparu mwy o dai fforddiadwy yng Nghymru. Rydym yn cefnogi grwpiau yng Nghymru trwy ein rhaglenni cleientiaid ond mae’r sesiwn hon yn berthnasol i’r DU gyfan.

Why I joined rebel riders on the risky road to Mach

One of the few small stretches of cycle path gives riders a break from the stress and danger

After 16 months of making the case for things I believe in via zoom I at last took part in a real-life protest on Sunday. Joining with ten other rebel riders, I cycled the dangerous A487 from Aberystwyth to Machynlleth to demand safer cycling and walking routes between the two towns and all the communities in between. It felt like I had finally come off mute! The rush of togetherness, camaraderie and shared purpose that can only truly be claimed in real life. Besides, you can’t really make the same point about dangerous roads without putting something of your actual real physical self on the line.

Those of us who know the A487 know how dangerous it is. I have cycled thousands of kilometres around Wales and Europe but have deliberately avoided cycling the length between my two closest home towns. There is very little joy in it. After my experience on Sunday the likelihood is I won’t do it again until we get cycle and walking paths along the whole route. Car after car overtaking dangerously on near blind bends into oncoming traffic. We shouldn’t forget that the absence of a path for walkers and cyclists puts car drivers at risk too. This is probably one of the most impatient roads in Wales and impatience is a killer.

Space for a path here

But I have a choice to avoid the road that those who live along the route don’t. Jasmine Berry is one, and she reminds us in her blog for the Institute of Welsh Affairs that local people risk life and limb every day. Drawing the parallel with the Tour of Britain which recently passed along the road she points out that local people don’t get the luxury of rolling road closures. The risk is very real. The mayor of Aberystwyth Alun Williams rode with us and reminded us in speeches along the route that Ceredigion Councillor Paul James lost his life on this same stretch of road training for a charity cycle ride.

I passionately believe in the power of cycling to transform lives but so many people can’t get started because their safety isn’t prioritised. Cycling should be a joy but how can you be joyful living in fear? I am lucky to live on quiet roads and cycle an hour a day before work. My daily ride is my personal commitment to staying healthy. My meditation. My mental health tonic. My defiance of the ageing process, as far as that is possible. I want everyone to have that choice if they want to take it.

I was 46 when I started to re-discover the joy of cycling. Then I was two stone overweight, anxious and stuck in repetitive self-defeating patterns. I made a commitment to myself to complete one one-hour ride once a week, to see if there was life in the old dog. Yes it was hard work at first but I noticed how much happier I was after each ride. This promise grew to twice, three times a week. I started to realise that I was not the person I thought I was. I was actually someone who needed a lot of exercise to stay happy. Having barrier blocked myself by saying I was too old to start doing this much cycling I realised that most of what I knew about myself was not true. Now I feel fitter than I ever have and my mental health has never been better, but even after a few weeks of cycling the difference was noticeable.

I started to set challenges – each one developing my strength a little bit more. I saw new possibilities emerging. When I was made redundant aged 47 I set myself the challenge of cycling at least in part every country in Europe. Covid interrupted that odyssey but so far I have cycled about 6000 km in 16 countries, mostly carrying all my camping gear with me and travelling as cheaply as possible. And having cycled through many of those countries I know that Wales has not fulfilled its potential as an active travel nation in the same way that other countries have.

One of the many cycle paths I rode along in Europe

Yes we have some great cycle paths and routes but many of them are for epic cycle rides, not the day to day rides many of us want and need to take. Cycling becomes not for the everyday rider but for the sportsman, the dare devil or on busy roads for the fearful brave. And where there are great family rides we often have to load up the car to get to them.

I cycled the whole of the Netherlands on cycle paths, across Germany on paths and quiet roads. In Austria I cycled 500km along a paved pathway that takes you across the whole of the country following the Danube. In Spain there are cycle paths on almost all main roads and by law drivers have to give you 1.5 metres when passing. I can’t wait to get to Denmark!

Wales is a small country. We have the opportunity to make a difference for the health of our people by connecting our communities. There is a lot of talk about the foundational economy, but what could be more foundational than communities connected together with safe cycle and pathways. That everyone can use. We would get out more. See what other people need. Ask what we can do for one another. It is so much easier to say hi and how are you doing when you’re on a bike or walking than when you’re stuck inside a car. My rides are often disrupted by conversation!

More riders joined us from my old village of Derwenlas along the cycle path to Machynlleth

I rode on Sunday to show my support and solidarity for the people who live between Aberystwyth and Machynlleth. I used to live in Derwenlas, one of the villages we rode through, and remember very well how the arrival of the 2 mile cycle path there to Machynlleth opened up my world, living as I did without a car.  

That was almost two decades ago and what has happened since for walkers and cyclists on the road? A piecemeal and wholly inadequate addition of a few hundred yards whenever the road is improved for drivers. As you can see from these pictures these paths are a welcome respite. I am grateful for them but they are not enough. Set against our targets on climate, wellbeing and health we can do better. Let’s connect all our communities with safe cycle and walking paths and deliver the change we need.

Ceredigion Council are currently seeking your views on their plans to create more cycle routes across the county. If you live locally and would like to comment on them please visit

https://ceredigion3.commonplace.is

You can sign a petition here

Ecodyfi in Machynlleth run Trywydd Iach, an active travel project to encourage more walking and cycling

Andy Rowland of Ecodyfi welcomes riders in Machynlleth.

Join us September 16th for community led solutions to the second homes issue

At the September network we’ll be talking about second/holiday homes and how local people taking greater control of their housing stock will lead to more active, cohesive and resilient communities.

We’ll be joined by successful community-led housing projects that have come together to tackle these issues, including Cornwall CLT and Appledore CLT. We strongly believe that the community-led housing models have significant potential to contribute to delivering more affordable homes in the right places, for the local community.

Yn ein rhwydwaith mis Medi byddwn yn siarad am ail gartrefi / cartrefi gwyliau a sut, trwy bobl leol gymryd mwy o reolaeth ar eu stoc dai, gall arwain at gymunedau mwy egnïol, cydlynol a gwydn.

Bydd prosiectau llwyddiannus tai dan arweiniad y gymuned yn ymuno â ni sydd wedi dod ynghyd i fynd i’r afael â’r materion hyn, gan gynnwys YTC Cernyw ac YTC Appledore. Credwn yn gryf fod gan y modelau tai dan arweiniad y gymuned botensial sylweddol i gyfrannu at ddatblygu fwy o dai fforddiadwy yn y llefyd gywir ar gyfer y gymuned leol.

Ten days left to save Tir Cyffredin housing co-op.

It’s crunch time for Wales’ newest housing co-operative Tir Cyffredin. They have only ten days left to raise the £140,000 they need to buy their home. Success means seven affordable spaces to rent and a valuable community hub for generations to come. Failure means members having to leave their home and the house going on to the open market. To become what? A second home? More Airbnb accommodation?

That’s why I’m doing all I can to support them, both through my job as a Community Led Housing Officer for the Wales Co-operative Centre but also by pledging my own personal support for their loan stock issue. Loan stock is a financial mechanism that allows people to invest in housing co-ops. It is crucially the only way most housing co-ops can build their deposit or make up any shortfall the mortgage won’t cover.

It’s an unsecured loan so there’s a risk attached but all being well the money will be back with me in five years with 3% interest added. In the meantime my money will have helped put a roof over people’s head and given those people better life chances. I know this because I lived in a housing co-op myself for seven years and being there completely changed my life.

Apart from providing me with a safe secure affordable home for seven years it gave me community, a support network, new social and work opportunities. It allowed me the flexibility to take on a major life challenge of cycling across Europe, which transformed my mental and physical health. It gave me space to grow fresh healthy organic food for five people in a beautiful south-facing garden (something I could only dream of before!)

After previously living alone for ten years I gained never-ending company (sometimes a little too never-ending!). Not to mention hundreds of incredible meals lovingly prepared by my housemates (can’t tell you how much they improved my wellbeing!) and of course the countless conversations about so many different subjects that came with those meals. Over the course of seven-years I got to meet hundreds of new people, most importantly the person who is now my fiancée.

As a member of a housing co-op I also saw the power we had to change the lives of other people, sometimes just by softening the barriers between the private and the public space. By making our space and resources available to people who didn’t live in the co-op we generated a huge amount of informal learning, skills and capacity building which made life better for lots of people. Quite simple things sometimes like hosting a bike repair workshop, or letting people stay when they needed a temporary home. Sometimes bigger things like being a mutual aid hub during the first lockdown. We took the energy of all of us and sent it outwards.

When you invest in a co-op that is committed to sharing its space and energy you are investing not just in the members but in everyone who comes into contact with that space. As such I am confident that Tir Cyffredin will benefit a much wider community beyond the people who live there. It will provide common ground (the English translation of Tir Cyffredin) upon which other things can grow.

It has already committed to carry on hosting for the next six years the organising hub for the El Sueno Festival. This long-running festival brings artists from across Wales and the world together to celebrate and support positive change. I know they have lots of other plans, all of which will benefit the wider community. If the house is lost to private ownership all this will be lost too. The energy, the possibility, the promise that comes with groups having common purpose.

I grew up watching the classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart as frustrated banker George Bailey. One of the high points of the film is the moment George saves the town’s buildings and loan firm by reminding all the deposit holders that their money is tied up with every one of their neighbours, invested in better housing for everyone and the decent chance at life that comes with it. This is the bank of community. A rising tide that lifts all the boats. As George Bailey says ‘we’ve got to stick together, we’ve got to have faith in each other’. Isn’t that what the pandemic has taught us too? That we can each play a part in building back better?

Currently in Wales, there is no public financing available for housing co-operatives, beyond the support our Communities Creating Homes programme gives, and, until that changes it is down to the wider community to step in, bridge the funding gap and unlock the potential. We all benefit from thriving community spaces and having people around that believe in community and are prepared to do something positive about supporting it. I know that the members themselves – Sadie, Ailsa, Gareth, Badger and JoJo ­- will do this as all of them are involved in community projects already and will only build on that once they know they can live in a secure affordable home.

As an advisor I see how much sweat it takes to create a new housing co-op from scratch. In the case of Tir Cyffredin quite literally as two of the members will give their time for free to help a local builder to create two new bedrooms. If creating homes is a game of snakes and ladders my job is to help groups avoid the snakes and climb the ladders. Most of the hard work is done by the members themselves. For them it’s like having an extra job without a salary, the benefits of which will be enjoyed by others, long after they themselves have left. Some groups never make it home, but Tir Cyffredin have all the possibility of success. The only ladder they need now is you.

Mae’n unfed awr ar ddeg i gwmni tai cydweithredol diweddaraf Cymru, Tir Cyffredin. Gydag ychydig wythnos ar ôl yn unig i godi’r swm o £140,000 y mae ei angen arnynt er mwyn prynu eu cartref, mae eu dyfodol yn y fantol.

Ar gyfer cydweithfa dai Tir Cyffredin Byddai llwyddiant yn golygu saith lle fforddiadwy i’w rentu ynghyd â hwb cymunedol am genedlaethau i ddod. Byddai methiant yn golygu y byddai’n rhaid i aelodau adael eu cartref a bydd y cartref yn cael ei werthu ar y farchnad agored. Yna beth fydd yn dod ohono? Ail gartref? Mwy o lety Airbnb?

Dyna pam yr wyf yn gwneud popeth y gallaf ei wneud i gefnogi Tir Cyffredin, trwy fy swydd fel Swyddog Tai a Arweinir gan y Gymuned ar gyfer Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru, ond hefyd trwy addo fy nghefnogaeth bersonol i’w benthyciad stoc. Mae benthyciad stoc yn fecanwaith ariannol sy’n caniatáu i bobl fuddsoddi mewn cwmnïau tai cydweithredol. Hon yw’r unig ffordd y gall y rhan fwyaf o gwmnïau tai cydweithredol sicrhau eu blaendal neu dalu unrhyw ddiffyg na all y morgais dalu amdano, ac mae hyn yn hanfodol. Mae’n fenthyciad diwarant felly ceir risg, ond os bydd popeth yn mynd yn iawn, bydd yr arian yn cael ei roi yn ôl i mi ymhen pum mlynedd, gyda llog o 3% wedi’i ychwanegu iddo.

Yn y cyfamser, bydd fy arian wedi helpu i ddarparu cartref a chynnig cyfleoedd gwell mewn bywyd i’r bobl hynny. Rydw i’n gwybod hyn oherwydd yr arferwn fyw mewn cartref cwmni tai cydweithredol fy hun am saith mlynedd, ac roedd fy nghyfnod yno wedi newid fy mywyd yn llwyr. Rhoddodd yr hyblygrwydd i mi ymgymryd â her fawr mewn bywyd, sef seiclo ar draws Ewrop, a oedd wedi trawsnewid fy iechyd corfforol a meddyliol.

Rhoddodd y lle i mi dyfu bwyd organig iach a ffres i bump o bobl mewn gardd hyfryd a oedd yn wynebu’r de (rhywbeth a oedd wedi bod yn freuddwyd yn unig i mi cyn hynny!)

Ar ôl byw ar fy mhen fy hun am ddeng mlynedd, cefais gwmni diddiwedd (a oedd yn rhy ddiddiwedd ar brydiau!). Heb sôn am y cannoedd o brydau anhygoel a baratowyd gan y bobl y bûm yn byw gyda nhw (roedden nhw wedi gwella fy lles yn aruthrol!) ac wrth gwrs, y sgyrsiau di-ri am gymaint o wahanol bynciau a gododd yn ystod y prydau hynny. Dros saith mlynedd, cefais y cyfle i gyfarfod cannoedd o bobl newydd, ac yn bwysicaf oll, fy nyweddi.

Fel aelod o gwmni tai cydweithredol, gwelais hefyd y grym a oedd gennym i newid bywydau pobl arall, weithiau trwy feddalu’r rhwystrau rhwng y lle preifat a chyhoeddus. Trwy sicrhau bod ein lle a’n hadnoddau ar gael i bobl nad oeddent yn byw yn safle y cwmni cydweithredol, llwyddom i ysgogi swm aruthrol o ddysgu anffurfiol, sgiliau a meithrin gallu, a oedd wedi gwella bywydau nifer fawr o bobl. Pethau digon syml weithiau fel cynnal gweithdy trwsio beics neu ganiatáu i bobl aros pan fyddai angen cartref dros dro arnynt. Weithiau, pethau mwy fel bod yn ganolfan cymorth ar y cyd yn ystod y cyfnod clo cyntaf. Aethom ati i gyfeirio’r holl egni a oedd yn bodoli rhyngom allan i’r byd.

Pan fyddwch yn buddsoddi mewn cwmni cydweithredol sydd wedi ymrwymo i rannu ei le a’i egni, rydych yn buddsoddi yn yr aelodau ac ym mhawb sy’n cael cyswllt gyda’r lle hwnnw. O’r herwydd, rydw i’n teimlo’n hyderus y bydd Tir Cyffredin yn cynnig budd i gymuned llawer ehangach na’r bobl sy’n byw yno yn unig. Bydd yn darparu tir cyffredin lle y gall pethau eraill dyfu.

Mae eisoes wedi ymrwymo i barhau i gynnal y ganolfan drefnu ar gyfer Gŵyl El Sueno am y chwe blynedd nesaf. Mae’r ŵyl hon wedi bod yn cael ei chynnal ers tro, gan ddwyn artistiaid o bob cwr o Gymru a’r byd ynghyd i ddathlu a cefnogi newid cadarnhaol. Gwn bod ganddyn nhw nifer fawr o gynlluniau eraill, y byddant oll yn cynnig budd i’r gymuned ehangach. Os collir y tŷ i berchnogion preifat, collir hyn oll hefyd. Yr egni, y posibilrwydd, yr addewid a ddaw yn sgil grwpiau yn rhannu diben cyffredin.

Pan oeddwn i’n ifanc, gwyliais y ffilm Nadoligaidd glasurol It’s a Wonderful Life, lle y mae James Stewart yn actio rhan George Bailey, y bancwr rhwystredig. Un o uchafbwyntiau’r ffilm yw’r eiliad y mae George yn achub adeiladau a chwmni benthyciadau y dref trwy atgoffa’r holl ddeiliaid blaendal bod eu harian gyda phob un o’u cymdogion, wedi’i fuddsoddi mewn tai gwell i bawb a’r siawns teg mewn bywyd sy’n dod gyda hynny. Dyma fanc cymuned. Llanw sy’n codi ac sy’n codi’r holl gychod. Fel y mae George Bailey yn ei ddweud, ‘rhaid i ni aros gyda’n gilydd, rhaid i ni gael ffydd yn ein gilydd’. Onid hon yw gwers y pandemig hefyd? Y gallwn oll gyfrannu at yr adfer er gwell?Ar hyn o bryd yng Nghymru, nid oes cyllid cyhoeddus ar gael i gwmnïau tai cydweithredol, y tu hwnt i’r cymorth a roddir gan ein rhaglen Cymunedau yn Creu Cartref, a nes y bydd hynny yn newid, rhaid i’r gymuned ehangach gamu i’r adwy, pontio’r bwlch ariannol a datgloi’r potensial.

Rydym oll yn cael budd gan fannau cymunedol sy’n ffynnu a chael pobl sy’n credu mewn cymuned ac y maent yn barod i wneud rhywbeth cadarnhaol ynghylch ei chynorthwyo. Rydw i’n gwybod y bydd yr aelodau eu hunain – Sadie, Ailsa, Gareth, Badger a JoJo – yn gwneud hyn gan fod pob un ohonynt yn ymwneud â phrosiectau cymunedol yn barod, a’r unig bryd y byddant yn datblygu hynny yw pan fyddant yn gwybod y gallant fyw mewn cartref diogel a fforddiadwy. Fel cynghorydd, rydw i’n gweld faint o ymdrech y mae’n ei gymryd i sefydlu cwmni tai cydweithredol newydd.

Yn achos Tir Cyffredin, bydd dau o’r aelodau yn rhoi eu hamser am ddim er mwyn helpu adeiladwr lleol i greu dwy ystafell wely newydd. Os yw creu cartrefi fel gêm nadroedd ac ysgolion, fy swydd i yw helpu grwpiau i osgoi’r nadroedd a dringo’r ysgolion. Cyflawnir rhan fwyaf y gwaith caled gan yr aelodau eu hunain. Iddyn nhw, mae hyn fel cael swydd ychwanegol heb gyflog, y bydd eraill yn mwynhau ei fanteision ymhell ar ôl iddyn nhw adael. Ni fydd rhai grwpiau fyth yn cyrraedd gartref, ond mae gan Dir Cyffredin y posibilrwydd llawn o lwyddo. Yr unig ysgol y mae ei hangen arnynt nawr yw chi.

Happy birthday Robert Owen!

Today is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Welsh community housing pioneer Robert Owen. Check out my new blog about Owen for the Wales Co-operative Centre and come along to our special Robert Owen themed community led housing event with author and co-housing pioneer Chris Coates on Robert Owen and Maureen Jones and Simin Wadiwala on two of today’s pioneering community led housing schemes, Chapeltown Cohousing and Student Co-op Homes. Find out what other events are happening through the Robert Owen Museum here.

Local meet up Wednesday 7th April

Come along to our local community led housing meet-up on April 7th. This is for anyone living in Mid-Wales who want to get together with other people who want to create more affordable community led housing for people in their area. The event is free and you can book here.

Empty Homes network event Thursday 18th February 12pm

Come and join us for the Wales Co-operative Centre’s empty homes event on Thursday 18th February. We’ve teamed up with experts to see how groups in Wales can turn empty homes and other buildings into viable community led housing schemes. We’ll have three speakers, Q and A’s and break out rooms as usual. Our speakers this month are Sarah Williams from the Housing Department of Ceredigion County Council, Chris Laughton from the Solar Design Company and Martin Newman from Giroscope, a housing project based in Hull. Sarah will help us understand what an empty home is and how local authorities relate to them. Chris takes us through some of the technical aspects a group can expect to encounter, whilst Martin will show us what an empty homes based community led housing project looks like. Join us on February 18th at 12pm. Remember to book before 10am and check your junk folder for the zoom link if it doesn’t appear in your inbox. Book via Eventbrite here

Communities Creating Christmas

Join us on Thursday 17th December for our final network event of the year (12-1.30pm). We’ll have live music, talks on African permaculture projects and German Christmas traditions, a Cooperative Christmas quiz and digital gifts from across Wales. The network events have been a highlight in what has obviously been a very difficult year. So hope to see you there for one final get together before the year passes. Book here! Nadolig Llawen!

Five reasons why community led housing and woodland go together so well

Really enjoying re-watching our woodland community led housing network event. We had five inspiring speakers and so much good conversation. It really feels in Wales that woodland is an integral part of our culture and the connection between home and woodland is so strong, where ever you live. Was excited to learn about skills building from Ty Pren, community woodlands from Llais Y Goedwig, housing coops and woodland with Undergrowth Housing Coop, the incredible work of Wood Knowledge Wales and the thrill of willow growing from Steve Pickup. So grateful to have this many inspiring speakers at one event. Share the learning!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvG6t_7bq4c