Connected Communities Programme
Connected Communities is a UK cross-Research-Council research programme, led by the government-funded Arts and Hunanities Research Council. The vision for the Programme is “to mobilise the potential for increasingly inter-connected communities to enhance self-reliance, regeneration, sustainability, health & well-being by better connecting research, stakeholders and communities.”
The Workhome Project has, in partnership with sociologist Carol Wolkowitz, from the University of Warwick and community journalist Paul Egglestone from the Unversity of Central Lancashire, made a successful bid for £40,000 from this programme, to carry out a base-line study of home-based work amongst the social housing residents of a large London Registered Social Landlord, Newlon Housing Trust.
This project consisted of a series of four community engagement events. The first, in June 2011, took the form of an Open Space meeting attended by around 35 people [current or prospective home-based workers], to discuss the central question "How can we all work together to make working at home a real possibility for all? Three further events [a Participatory Design Workshop, a Business Advice Fair and a Website Building/ Networking event] took place in June and July 2011.
The legacy of the project is an ongoing lively and well-attended 'Enterprise Club' for home-based working members of Newlon's social housing, which meets monthly to support home-based-working residents of Newlon's housing, and those who would like to start up a home-based business. Newlon have also launched an 'Emerging Enterprise' initiative, to offer business advice, training, equipment loans/ grants and marketing support and advice to residents who are interested in starting a business.
Please contact Frances Holliss [firstname.lastname@example.org] if you are interested in getting involved, or if you are would be interested in a similar project in a different housing association.
This project was conceived as a lead-in to a larger 'Re-use' project in which designs are created to convert buildings on the Newlon Housing Trust's 'difficult-to-use' list into workhome developments, to accommodate residents of Newlon's social hosing who are engaged in home-based work in a variety of different occupations, from hairdressing and childminding to catering and landscape gardening. A larger bid is now in process for a project that investigates not only design for, but also governance and policy obstacles to, home-based work in social housingt.