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Devon Rural Housing Futures

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Community- Led solutions to the housing crisis

What community- led solutions are out there to help address the housing crisis in rural Devon? Could better access to more affordable, sustainable housing help build a fair and inclusive economy in Devon as it recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic and encounters disrupted global supply chains? 

Calling all voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations and coops within the housing and homelessness sector, community -led housing groups and enterprises, housing campaigners, councillors and local authority staff and anyone passionate about solutions to the rural housing crisis in Devon!

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Devon Rural Housing Futures: Community- Led solutions to the housing crisis

The live event was online, June 29th June 2022. Watch the replay below:

This event was designed to inspire, support and catalyse action for community led housing, and other solutions to skyrocketing prices and the lack of affordable homes and rented accommodation. This all occurs in the context of inflating energy prices, rising fuel poverty, climate and ecological emergencies, and a need for policy and action to ensure sustainable local supply chains, and energy efficiency in new and existing buildings. Housing shouldn’t cost the earth!

What to expect:

  • Speakers will share a cascade of stories of different approaches to solving the housing crisis

  • Breakout group Q&A workshops and discussion: community land trusts, housing campaigns, tiny homes, housing coops and more.

  • Future Visioning

  • Next steps and calls to action

Speakers and Facilitators

Watch this space for more details on our speakers in the coming days and weeks!



Alison Ward,

Erica Travies,

James Shorten,

Jackie Carpenter

Kaye Corfe,

Prana Simon



Gill Westcott, Director at New Prosperity Devon, Chair of Transition Exeter, and member of the Devon Net Zero Task Force.

Roxy Piper, Consultant at New Prosperity Devon, systems thinker, community resilience practitioner, events organiser, and contributor to the Devon Doughnut. 


Alison Ward, Director Middlemarch CIC

Alison is a community led housing adviser and co-founder of Middlemarch Community Led Housing CIC, a social enterprise supporting communities to develop their own affordable homes for local people - usually through community land trusts. Middlemarch has worked with over 70 community groups, including 20 CLTs which have now completed their first affordable homes schemes.


Alison was a trustee of the National CLT Network between 2014 and 2019. Over the last ten years she has worked on a number of community led housing projects nationally, including research on funding mechanisms for community groups for the social finance organisation Resonance, and ongoing work for the CLT Network supporting a nationwide network of community led housing advice services.

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Planner, TerraPermaGeo, founder of Regenerative Settlement CIC, and member of the Devon Net Zero Task Force

James's career has spanned campaigning, academia, national research projects, a large multi-disciplinary consultancy (Land Use Consultants), with rural planning and environmental sustainability as leading themes. From 2008 James has run his own businesses and social enterprises, and is now a director of TerraPermaGeo  and has founded the Regenerative Settlement CIC.

James’s work on rural sustainability lead him to research the merits of ‘Low Impact Development’ in Wales in 2002 for the Countryside Council for Wales, finding that the planning system was perversely adverse to some of the most sustainable forms of development occurring in the Welsh countryside. Nearly 10 years later James led the work to produce the One Planet Development Practice Guidance for the Welsh Government – detailed guidance on how One Planet Developments (OPD) should be assessed and implemented. OPD is arguably the most progressive planning approach in the UK, and James is not working on Regenerative Settlement, or ‘Re-Set’, as a development and expansion of this fit for the profound challenges contained in the climate and ecological emergencies.


He is a member of the Devon Net Zero Task Force. He believes the planning system, with greater imagination and fewer fetters, could be doing much more to address the climate and ecological emergencies.


Jackie Carpenter, Co- Housing trainer

In 2007, Jackie was a founder member of Trelay Cohousing Community in Cornwall where she lived for 12 years. She built a tiny house there and wrote a book, “Hope on the Slope”. She was a Director of the UK Cohousing Network for several years. Jackie has had considerable experience with the legal, financial
and planning aspects of rural cohousing, and her on-line course in 2020 and 2021, “Cohousing in Country Buildings”, was well- received. (More courses coming up in 2022)

Jackie is a Quaker; a chartered engineer used to managing large projects; a sustainability and renewable energy consultant; mother of two daughters and a granny of teenage boys; and a winner of cups for vegetables in the local show. She loves wildlife and the sea.

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Kaye Corfe, Bideford Town Councillor, Supported Accommodation Staff for local homeless charity

"Hi, I'm Kaye. I live in North Devon and have done for 10 years. I work for a local housing charity and help to run supported accommodation for people that were homeless, I also help to run a women's only service providing accommodation and outreach support to marginalised women. I have been an independent town Councillor for 3 years and just this week I have started a community interest company that offers a space and support to local grass roots groups. I like to advocate things such like quiet rebellion and acting like water not fire, but in all honesty I'm out to cause beautiful trouble and get the voices of the voiceless heard and generally spread love and kindness."

In 2021 Kaye tabled a motion to declare a housing emergency in Bideford, it was voted in unanimously.


Prana Simon, Community Led Housing (CLH) Advisor, Harberton Parish Councillor and SSE Fellow. 

Prana Simon is an accredited Community Led Homes Advisor with a rural specialism, working with groups organising their own affordable housing. She is also a parish councillor and SSE Fellow.


Prana is a member of the current Harberton Parish Neighbourhood Plan Committee, working towards a sustainable parish plan for affordable housing up to and including the Joint Local Plan 2037. She was Director/Treasurer of Harberton & Harbertonford Community Land Trust in its founding stage. And also previously a Board Member of South Devon Rural Housing Association assisting social/affordable housing delivery through strategic project management. 

Prana says: "The housing crisis in Devon is a longstanding issue that will need all walks and stakeholders to be involved in turning it around. In 2011, the Locality Act got that ball rolling in Westminster and it's through grassroots community organisations, providers and funding that resolution will come. From the DIY self-builder to self-governing partnerships, the future of housing is evolving to be more collaborative and regenerative."


Erica Travies,

Fellow of The School for Social Entrepreneurs

Erica is creating a social enterprise to empower single people and small households to access their own micro housing solutions. Teignbridge District Council are proposing a self-build compact home initiative, and Erica is engaged in piloting a scheme to demonstrate the benefits of tiny home living, within the context of a garden community.


“Tiny homes present a unique opportunity to free up blockages in the housing system,” Erica says “and if designed and built to a high standard, could meet the needs of a human for a lifetime.” Erica will talk briefly about her own housing journey and aspirations for the future, introduce the Teignbridge Compact Home scheme, and how self-build might open a pathway for truly affordable home ownership.

How is this project funded? 

The funded support on this programme is available as part of the Devon Social Entrepreneurs Programme. ​ Devon Social Entrepreneurs Programme is led by the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) in partnership with Devon Communities Together, Stir to Action and New Prosperity Devon.  It is funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund, which is managed by Devon County Council within the Devon area.


The Devon Social Entrepreneurs Programme ran from April- June 2022.


Do you have an enterprising idea to improve the communities or environment in Devon? Are you a more established social enterprise looking to increase your impact and income – or supply the public sector?


From April to June New Prosperity Devon ran a programme called Supplying Devon Shared Prosperity as part of the Devon Social Entrepreneurs Programme. This series of workshops for Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise organisations and co-ops in rural Devon, and for social entrepreneurs and public sector procurement professionals and commissioners. Watch replays of some of the presentations here

Some of our partners are still offering free events and workshops for start-up or more established social enterprises. Dozens of practical learning, coaching and networking opportunities are happening around the County until June – and they’re all free!

Find out more about the remaining workshops on the Devon Social Entrepreneurs Programme. ​

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