Innovative housing project gets underway in Bristol

The Nationwide Foundation has funded Knowle West Media Centre in Bristol with a grant of £161,160 to support the community to deliver its own affordable housing and therefore address its affordable housing shortage problem.

The We Can Make project, run by Knowle West Media Centre, is exploring an innovative way to solve local housing problems, by helping people who want to downsize or move into a bigger place, but still want to stay in the community they call home. Yet this isn’t easy if homes simply aren’t available.

This project is about using the space that already exists in Knowle West to create more affordable homes. We Can Make has found that in Knowle West – a low-density, high deprivation 1930s housing estate in south Bristol – there are over 2,000 potential micro-sites where one or two-bedroom homes could be constructed.

The micros-sites are typically land in large back gardens, land between buildings or grassed verges. Although not all of these micro-sites will be suitable, We Can Make estimates that homes could be created on 10-15% of them. By testing a model and creating tools to support the community, this will enable up to 350 sites to be transferred to the community so that new homes can be created.

This is an exciting and innovative project, which puts the needs of local residents at the heart of decision-making. We know that there are many organisations and communities like Knowle West, with brilliant, imaginative and different ideas about how to deliver the right sort of housing or housing support, which can tackle systemic failings in the housing system. We are backing these promising ideas, allowing them to be trialled and tested, and then helping them move through into action, influence and ultimately widespread implementation.