The Big Idea: Using Empty Homes in Leeds
Rob Greenland is one of our Fellows in the Yorkshire area working with his local community. He is one of the successful applicants to RSA Catalyst, the RSA’s seed fund for Fellows’ early stage ideas seeking to find solutions to today’s challenges. He is running Leeds Empties, a project which Rob has blogged about here:
The Big idea: Leeds Empties aims to bring people together to develop a range of enterprising approaches to bringing hundreds more of Leeds’ 5000 long-term empty homes back into use.
About the project
We launched Leeds Empties in 2012 with a ‘Call To Action’ – and more than 100 people joined us for the day to explore enterprising ways to bring more empties back into use.
The Call To Action also featured a “Pledge-A-Thon” – hosted by TV architect and empty homes campaigner George Clarke – with more than 20 local business pledging thousands of pounds worth of support to bring back into use an empty home recently purchased by a local social enterprise. The Call To Action also attracted lots of media coverage – we were lead story on local BBC news all day.
Since then we’ve developed the ideas that were explored at the Call To Action, and with support from Leeds City Council, an RSA Catalyst Award and Yorkshire Venture Philanthropy Fund we’re now ready to fully launch during Leeds Empties Week later this month (18th and 22nd March.)
The aim of the Week is to engage a wide range of people in bringing empty homes back into use – and we’re keen to involve RSA Fellows, particularly around the following themes:
- Attracting investment – eg through community share issues
- Green homes – ensuring empty homes are renovated to high environmental standards
- Jobs, training and apprenticeships – in particular for young people
- Support for social ventures – supporting existing social enterprises and encouraging new self-help schemes
The Catalyst grant is helping us to engage more local Fellows, primarily by supporting our Leeds Empties Week launch event. This is vital as the success of the Leeds Empties approach depends on us making the most of the wide range of skills that local people can bring to help us to tackle this complex social issue. Our role is to encourage people to get involved – and then to help them to work out how best to use their expertise to contribute towards tackling the empty homes problem. The grant is also contributing towards a Leeds Empties website which will help us involve more people in turning empty properties into decent family homes.
The success of the Leeds Empties approach depends on us making the most of the wide range of skills that local people can bring to help us to tackle this complex social issue.
How you can get involved
Fellows can find out more by coming to our Leeds Empties Week launch on Monday 18th March – which is supported by the RSA, where Chair of the RSA’s Yorkshire Region Pam Warhurst will talk about Leeds Empties in the context of the RSA’s aspirations for Yorkshire as an Incredible Region, investing in enterprise and self-belief.
Finally you can contact me, Rob Greenland FRSA by email or by calling 07905 800 710.
This is a great project taking place in Leeds and hope you’ll be able to make it. If you are a Fellow based in Yorkshire and the North East, and have an idea you would like to connect with other Fellows about or which you think might be eligible for Catalyst funding, I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Regional Programme Manager, North East & Yorkshire