Row of modular homes made of wood and metal, steps running up to each and green lawn in front

ECH Spring Networking Event

Eastern Community Homes (ECH) held its Spring Networking Event yesterday to update stakeholders with their future plans for 2023 and beyond. It was great to see a mix of local and county councils, rural enablers, technical consultants and community led groups attending from all over the eastern region.

What Happened at the Event?

Lewis Herbert from Allia Future Homes opened the meeting with a presentation on Learning from Modular Home Communities – and how Allia supports homelessness projects which included their first Cambridge modular community. The Cambridge project was a collaboration between Allia, Jimmy’s Cambridge and Christ the Redeemer Church (landowners) plus donors from the local business community. Manufactured by a local social enterprise, New Meaning Foundation, the units are insulated for low running costs and involve the training of young, homeless people in modern methods of construction. Although the 10 homes are initially on site for 6 years, the units themselves are engineered for a 60 year life and can be used repeatedly. The site also includes vegetable planters and beds in order to provide not only healthy food but also new skills and relaxation.

Cambridge University Research are hosting a discussion on the use of modular homes to tackle homelessness on the 16 March. You can register here if you would like to know more on this subject.

Strategic Aims

Kirsten Bennett, CEO of Cambridgeshire ACRE and board member of Eastern Community Homes, then presented our new strategy for 2023 onwards. Based on ECH’s activity so far in the eastern region, the board have set 5 strategic aims:

  1. Actively increase the number and range of community-led housing groups developing and delivering housing projects.
  2. Develop Eastern Community Homes work with local authorities to increase community-led housing sites across the region.
  3. Promote Eastern Community Homes so the benefits of developing community-led housing are better understood.
  4. Strengthen Eastern Community Homes community engagement to build new networks with groups giving them advice on all types of community land ownership models.
  5. Develop Eastern Community Homes’ governance and fundraising strategy to support the future sustainability of its work.

One part of this new direction is to increase the breadth of knowledge on the board of ECH. We have been actively recruiting over the last couple of months to this end. If you or anyone you know might be interested becoming a board member for ECH please take a look at our website for more information.