John is an ex-bricklayer, who after splitting with his wife was experiencing homelessness. He works as a groundsman for an environmental charity. In his spare time he loves cycling, going to live music, and volunteers mending bikes for a local youth charity. Bill lives with his son Liam in a council house. He’s a former goal-keeper, loves sci-fi, and is a keen cook. Liam loves Bristol Rovers and his PlayStation. Due to ill health, Bill was struggling to maintain their large garden.
Through our open community participation activity, which includes open call-outs, social meet-ups, and hands-on workshops and events, both John and Bill got involved with WeCanMake. John and Bill were supported to explore if the WeCanMake model would work for their situations, which included a facilitated match-making process.
Bill and Liam opted in to transferring some of their garden over to the WeCanMake community land trust, for a low-carbon, locally-made WeCanMake home to be built and rented at an affordable rate by John. For Bill, getting a smaller more manageable garden while also helping someone else to get a home of their own was a win-win for the family.
I’d just finished a messy divorce and was a single dad. John was in a similar situation and I thought I would try to do something good for the community. I’ve been homeless and it isn’t the greatest thing in the world. To give someone the opportunity to have a home was a good thing. It was just nice to be able to be nice to someone.Bill, resident of host home
We are literally building our community from the bottom up. That’s the most important thing to come out of this – it’s given me ownership of my community. It’s giving people different choices, better choices about how things can be. And it feels like it’s only the beginning.John, resident of WeCanMake home