Today, "community regeneration", "community empowerment" and "localism" are buzzwords, and the reality doesn't always live up to the promise.
Community-controlled housing associations and co-operatives are different.
Doing these things for real is part of our DNA, and has been for more than 30 years. We have a simple philosophy - give real power and responsibility to local communities, and they can achieve remarkablethings.
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Then … and now
If the housing association is really serious about being community-based, it has to concern itself with issues like unemployment, provision for pre-school children and so on. The Association has got to be a resource for everyone in the area. Providing houses just isn’t enough.
These words don't belong to a wise politician. They were spoken by a committee member from Yoker, quoted in a 1983 publication about Glasgow’s housing association movement.
Community-controlled housing associations began to address wider needs within their communities even earlier than that - housing associations in places like Reidvale, Govan and Maryhill were providing community services and facilities, from the late 1970s onwards.
Today, community-controlled housing associations and co-operatives provide an amazing array of services and facilities, all designed to make their local communities better places to live.
That’s worth doing in anyone’s book … but since many of these organisations work in poor areas, they help provide the glue that holds some of our most fragile communities together.
The Bigger Picture
The bigger picture
Community-controlled housing associations and co-operatives are involved in community regeneration in many different ways:
- As part of their core business as landlords
- Through partnerships, with voluntary and community organisations or public bodies
- Through their own subsidiary organisations, such as social enterprise companies or community development trusts
The scale of regeneration activity varies – for some organisations, it is a relatively modest part of their overall role. But for many others, community regeneration is well-established as a substantial part of what they do.
GWSF is keen to support the work our members do in community regeneration. So we take a close interest in community regeneration policy. With great pressure on public services and public spending, we firmly believe that community-based solutions to tackling neighbourhood issues, social problems and even delivering some public services are more relevant than ever.
To take these ideas forward, we help our members promote the sharing of ideas and good practice, and we lobby for changes in policy thinking at national and local level.
And we are building closer working relationships with others in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors, notably:
- Scottish Community Alliance, the network that campaigns for a strong community sector in Scotland. Its members are drawn from many different sectors including development trusts, community retailing, community energy, community recycling and community transport - as well as housing
- Senscot, the network for Scotland’s social business sector
- Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector, the development and advocacy agency for voluntary and community organisations in Glasgow. GWSF is represnted on the executive group of the Glasgow Third Sector Interface, and we work closely with GCVS and other third sector partners on issues such as community planning and the Reshaping Care for Older People agenda in the city.
What CCHAs Do
Some real life examples of the difference CCHAs make
Visit the Showcase page to see some real life examples of what community-controlled housing associations and co-operatives do in their local communities.
This makes a big difference, not just in giving people a place to call home. Our members also:
- Improve the quality of life for people in disadvantaged neighbourhoods
- Give people chances to realise their potential and achieve the things many of us take for granted
- Re-connect people with the job market
- Reduce the costs to other public services – for example in relation to improving health, preventing homelessness and reducing benefits
- Allow local communities to take real ownership of solving the problems they see in their neighbourhoods, day in and day out.