Developing a community housing project will involve deciding on the appropriate way to drive the project forward. This could be a housing association or a community body such as the Community Council or Community Development Trust (if one exists) or there may be a need for a new community organisation to progress the housing development? Whichever organisation develops the project good communication with local people, the local council and other community bodies is essential.
✓ Local Councillors: It is important to consult with and involve local Councillors at an early stage. They will be the natural link and champion with the services you will need to engage with including Housing, Planning and Transport.
✓ Local Residents: It is essential that all local residents (even those who may not appear to be interested!) have the opportunity to be involved. Communication should reach everyone, including “hard to reach” groups such as young people, who may not even have thought about their future housing needs and whether they will want to stay in the community.
✓ Landowners: Many local landowners have been keen to provide something for the community in perpetuity and have therefore been a key stakeholder in successful projects.
✓ People who would like to return: These people can be difficult to find but might be reached by word of mouth and by using posters.
✓ Schools & businesses: Essential services will only remain as long as they are able to maintain ratios of families with children or working age people. In addition key workers (say teachers and nurses) are essential to keep local service provision open.
✓ Rural Housing Service can help undertake research into local housing needs and works through the different ways affordable housing could be developed
✓ Development Trusts Association (Scotland) can advise on how to establish a development trust to take forward a community led housing project
✓ Communication: keep it simple and keep everyone informed. Be available to answer questions and comments. Think of creative ways to get people involved.
- Discuss all possible ways of community engagement with the DTAS, Rural Housing Service and other partners involved.