The Government recently released an independent report, ‘Those little connections: Community-led housing and loneliness’. It explains the research conducted into innovative community-led housing projects to understand how these can help to tackle loneliness and support social connections.
The research, undertaken by the London School of Economics and Political Science alongside researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Lancaster and Northumbria, was funded through the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). The origins of the report lie in the development of an England-wide Loneliness Strategy following the publication in 2017 of the Jo Cox Commission report ‘A connected society: A Strategy for tackling loneliness – laying the foundations for change’.
The research found that individuals involved in community-led housing (CLH) are significantly less likely to feel lonely than similar people living in neighbourhoods of more conventional homes. Researchers found that social connection with neighbours and sharing spaces with others – both features of community-led housing -are essential to place attachment and wellbeing, which in turn may help prevent loneliness.
Researchers also found that there were numerous instances of neighbours in CLH communities providing both practical and emotional support across the age groups sharing similar challenges i.e. parents raising young children.
Community-led housing is an umbrella term for a range of models including Cohousing, Community Land Trusts, Cooperatives, Self-Help Housing and Self-Build Housing. In the east of England, support for communities and groups wishing to explore CLH is provided by Eastern Community Homes, an initiative led and facilitated by Cambridgeshire ACRE.
Read more about our rural housing work here.