Cammy Day: Co-operative Capital empowering residents

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Following the elections in 2012, Edinburgh City Council’s capital coalition set out its vision to become a Co-operative Capital where public services work better together and communities have more influence over the services which affect their lives. We want to be a council that does things “with” people rather than “to” people.

As housing leader, I have pledged to encourage the development of co-operative housing arrangements in the city. It’s about empowering communities to transform the way that we plan, manage and deliver our services to better suit their needs. We have been encouraging people to talk to us about new ideas for developing co-operative housing arrangements but are also keen to build on existing work with residents and partners.

There is an acute need for affordable homes in this city and supporting the Craigmillar Eco Housing Co-operative by funding pre-development costs will allow their project to progress to planning application stage with the ultimate aim of building ten new affordable homes for rent.

Community co-operative arrangements are at the heart of the council’s 21st Century Homes house building programme, which delivers homes for sale and rent. The first new homes were built in Gracemount where a residents’ association has been set up to oversee factoring arrangements and promote the interests of the community. Opportunities for co-operative housing and estate management models are being piloted this year in two of our new developments in West Pilton Crescent and Greendykes.

As a local councillor in Forth, I am pleased to be part of collaborative working with the award winning Tenants and Residents in Muirhouse (Trim) who have set up a community shop in Pennywell Road, selling fresh fruit and veg on a not-for-profit basis. The shop is being used as a place where residents can also get advice on issues such as energy use and welfare reform. It has also provided a hub for sharing and consulting on master plans for the 21C Homes site that is very much part of the wider regeneration of this area.

The council also participated in the South East of Scotland energy switching project. This was funded by the Energy Savings Trust and helped communities use their collective buying power to get a better deal on energy bills. In Edinburgh, 116 switches took place saving participating households an estimated £16,000.

New sub committees have been introduced to allow external stakeholders to influence decision making. This is further complemented by the introduction of a petitions committee and revised scrutiny and new governance, risk and best value oversight.

We are aiming to create a culture where we work in partnership and empower others to do great things.

• Cammy Day is housing leader at Edinburgh City Council