Talking Coming Home

In which the new enterprise gathers its team and adds up its numbers.DSC03018I’ve been to many a Board Meeting in my life, but never to the inaugural gathering of a team of advisors I’ve largely put together myself. Liking and respecting a group of people doesn’t mean they’re necessarily all going to get along once put together in the same room.

To my great relief though, they did. Not everyone who’s agreed to be part of the wider Coming Home team could be there, but 8 of us assembled this week at The Everyman. Not to take any decisions but simply to sit together with the Coming Home idea and start dreaming about where we might all take it together.

Tracey Vickers and Tom Murtha.

Tracey Vickers and Tom Murtha.

Terry May.

Terry May.

Miranda Forward.

Miranda Forward.

And that’s Jayne Lawless and Dave Sinclair with Jen in the picture at the top.

People not able to be there were Jess Steele, Angela MacKay and Lisa Hoyle.

Tracey Vickers works for HCT Group, the social enterprise transport company, and her and I have done a lot of work together over the last year or so exploring inspirational enterprises like the Severn Project and the Real Junk Food Project. Both of them big inspirations behind Coming Home.

Tom Murtha and I have known each other since the 1980s, Tom having worked in and around housing as long as I have. I value his principled opinions highly and couldn’t have started something new to do with housing without asking him to be involved.

Jayne you know, my friend and partner in Coming Home.

Dave Sinclair is a friend of Jayne and a doctor. A real one, not a PhD. So naturally Jayne calls him ‘Dr Dave.’ As part of his doctoring Dave works with recently arrived refugees. So some of the people needing jobs and homes we’ll be looking to work with.

Terry May I’ve met over the course of The Beautiful Ideas Co programme as he’s part of it too. Terry’s working on a project about localised elderly care around County Road, where he already runs several enterprises. He’s also been a builder and therefore has an interesting address book of North Liverpool trades people!

Miranda Forward and I met when we both started working for Liverpool Housing Trust in 1975. We started the Union Group there together, and though Miranda’s done more teaching than housing over the last 30 years we’ve remained close friends and I value her opinions implicitly.

Jess Steele and I met through Granby 4 Streets. As well as studying us academically Jess is an inveterate community activist and adviser who’s most recently been in the news for the 10 year long restoration of Hastings Pier. Obviously Hastings is a long way from Liverpool, so Jess is our Itinerant Board member!

Angela MacKay works at the Whitechapel Centre here in Liverpool, and so will be a good link to the homeless people we’ll be wanting to work with. I also know her as an Anfield resident and through her work with Homebaked. Angela was of course there when Jayne showed her film ‘Without These Walls’ the other week.

And Lisa Hoyle is my Quaker friend. We’ll often sit together in their Friends Meeting House Café and talk about life and the pursuit of happiness and fairness. And when she’s not talking to me Lisa puts a good deal of her time into the ‘City of Sanctuary’ project for recent arrivals.

So that’s it so far. There may be a couple more people, including a finance friend. And I’ll let you know when they arrive. But I think it’s a good and varied Liverpool core, with Tracey, Tom and Jess to help us set up Coming Home Liverpool, but also be out there nationally as we potentially spread the idea to other places.

And the rest of the week? Well a Beautiful Ideas group session on company formation which pretty much convinced me this is a Community Interest Company. Then time with Sally-Anne Watkiss today, courtesy of Beautiful Ideas, where we went through the financial model she’s setting up for us to play around with. ‘Telling the story with numbers’ as Sally-Anne calls it.

And it is so exciting now to be this near to actually starting work on the empty homes of Liverpool. North first, then the rest of the city.

So thank you to all of these my friends who have said ‘Yes’ when I’ve asked them to be part of Coming Home. We are all Coming home.

Big thanks too to Deborah Aydon of The Everyman for clearing us a corner here to talk about changing as much of the world as we can xx

13 thoughts on “Talking Coming Home

  1. Sylvia Dunn

    All the very best to you all. A challenge, but one you will meet with your usual dedication and humour, I’m sure! As an excited scouser I love reading about your achievements, and admiring your photos! Good luck!

  2. Sylvia Dunn

    Apologies. My last comment should read “exiled” not “excited”! Of course I’m sure I’ll be excited when the project is completed!

  3. Stuart St V Fitzgerald

    Great stuff, Ronnie. The kind of thing I’d love to be involved with… but just need a bit of headspace at the minute. Pls keep me in mind for when the time is right – loads of connectivity across all sectors… and I’m pretty pally with that Terry May fella n all!

    Pls keep me on a mailing list for Coming Home mate.

    All the best with it for now.

  4. lindsay53

    i’m not a scouser but I’m exciled too and very excited about the future of this project. Very promising and you have a great team! Look fwd to hearing of your progress.

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Thanks Lindsay, progressing by the day here. Busy, yet I feel completely at peace with it as I’m going around clearing space and other work to give it its best chance.

  5. William Jeremy Duncan

    This is a fantastic project.It’s good to see places coming back to life that were abandoned for years.The great thing is that instead of demolishing the buildings they are being lovingly restored.

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      With Coming Home I want to build on my Granby experiences over the last few years and so have put together a whole team and board to start working on as many other empty properties as we can – for rent and sale. Glad you like the idea!

  6. Angela

    What a great concept! Well done. One of my dreams if I won the euros is to buy run down houses, employ older tradesmen and youngsters on apprenticeships, pay everyone a decent wage and sell the house at affordable prices, making just enough to cover costs. Still want to do it. I wish you all the very best of luck!


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