Working with the community and voluntary sector

This section is about local authorities and housing associations working strategically and in partnership with the community and voluntary sector, or ‘third sector’ to promote and support CLH schemes.

A key ingredient

  • With community-led housing, the wider community and voluntary sector may have a relevant and sometimes essential part to play in both the development and management of schemes. For many CLH schemes, working with the sector may therefore be more of a requirement than an option
  • The CVS sector can provide skills and capacity which may not be available within a local authority. In some circumstances, it may be able to provide valuable input at low or no cost to a local authority

Examples of such input can include the following:

  • Publicity and promotion of CLH
  • Sponsorship/ development of CLH projects
  • General capacity building support to CLH groups
  • Specialist business planning and governance support

Why third sector organisations get involved

Community-led housing is becoming an increasingly attractive business option for a range of community organisations and social enterprises. There are a variety of ways in which they may view their involvement in CLH, including:

  • It may be part of their mission to support initiatives in the local community
  • It might be a development of services to existing partners or beneficiaries
  • They may see it as a new potential income stream

For a local authority, the involvement of existing community organisations should usually be a help in the development of CLH because it can bring support and development capacity. However, it is important to be aware of competency and capacity issues. Organisations coming to the issue with little track record and / or with an overt income generation motive might present risks

A strategic approach

Most local authorities already have a strategic approach to working with the community and voluntary sector. An increasing number are also adopting a strategic approach to their work with the sector in relation to community-led housing. For example:

  • Northumberland County Council – is working in partnership with the Rural Community Council for Northumberland (Community Action Northumberland).  It has used Community Housing Fund resources to set up a joint initiative to provide technical support services to CLH groups throughout the County. 18 potential CLH projects are already in the pipeline after only nine months since funding commenced
  • Seven local authorities in North and East Yorkshire are working together in partnership with Community First Yorkshire, another Rural Community Council, to help deliver a community-led housing programme across the area, following a successful scoping study which led to more than 12 pilot projects in part of the country with little previous CLH activity


Whitley Bay Big Local, North Tyneside


Last updated in March 2018