For some time now I’ve been thinking of writing something on here about Coming Home. For many reasons, some of which I’ll explain, the time’s never seemed quite right. But stories need telling, otherwise how do they become stories? So here goes, the Story of Coming Home:
Whatever kind of maker you are, a maker of things, tools, songs, stories, poems or paintings, the most difficult thing to do is to get going. So many of us are full of the big even beautiful ideas, aren’t we? But how many of them ever amount to something you can show or use or put in a story, let alone live in?
I’ve been thinking about this, this getting going, as some friends and I from The Beautiful Ideas Co have been talking about what Coming Home does next. And as I’ve also been reading a novel by Colm Toíbín called ‘The South.’ I love Colm Toíbín’s writing. He’s a near contemporary and I often find valuable thoughts about life and the living of it from reading his books.
In ‘The South’ I’ve found a particularly relevant gem. It’s in his afterword, where he writes about how hard he’d had to search for the answer to how to get this, his first novel, going.
Being a story he’d wanted to move around Ireland and Catalonia, abstractedly painting their emotional and historical landscapes he talked to an Irish artist, Barrie Cooke, about how he did beginnings:
“You make a mark” he said, as he gestured the making of an almost random mark with an imaginary paint-brush.
For a long time I’ve thought and no doubt even said that if you really know your stuff, whatever that ‘stuff’ might be, you should be able to explain it clearly to anyone. Just this year, for example, I’ve been driven to so much distraction by some verbose inhabitants of the ‘social investment sector’ (their description of themselves) that I’ve had to publicly berate them for telling a room of people who actually do things that we need to ‘learn their language’ if we want them to consider investing in us.
I’m saying this because this very week some of my own ‘stuff’ has been put to the test when The Economist asked me if I’d have a go at answering some questions. They run something called The Burnet News Club that’s specifically about involving both primary and secondary school children in discussions about the economy.
Listen to this blog post on BBC Radio Merseyside here.
Home, the place where you can grow up happily, knowing it’s always going to be your home. Welcome home this little one from us at Coming Home Liverpool.No apologies at all for not having written much on here lately, Jayne Lawless and I have been busy. As the two partners in Coming Home Liverpool we’ve been busy creating our first home for a family in North Liverpool. And now it’s done and they’re all moved in. On a fair rent and a permanent tenancy.Yesterday there was a celebration at the house. A celebration you can listen to from the links at the top and the foot of this post. Continue reading “Home”
“Jayne Lawless and Coming Home Liverpool co-founder Ronnie Hughes are in a jovial mood, surrounded by the green and grey walls of their adopted property – the first, they hope, of many empty houses they are going to convert into affordable homes.
There are around 600,000 empty properties in the country, and 9,000 in Liverpool. Often the owners cannot afford to bring them back into use. Yet Liverpool, like the rest of the country, faces an acute shortage of homes.
This house, on City Road in Walton, is owned by Clare Kinsella, who had inherited it from her late father. She could not afford to do it up, especially because she had been ripped off for £20,000 by previous builders. So she faced either going into further debt to refurbish it or selling it for less than market value.
But when she met Hughes at a social housing conference – he first worked in housing 40 years ago and was recently involved in the Granby 4 Streets redevelopment for which the architects won the Turner Prize – Coming Home Liverpool had found its first homeowner.”
There’s something about being in an actual printed newspaper that confirms an ideas existence more than anything digital can. And this week Coming Home’s existence has been confirmed by the Liverpool Echo.
Knowing though that many of this blog’s readers don’t live around Liverpool or even in England I thought I’d reproduce Echo journalist Josh Parry’s article about us on here. So here it is.
How one affordable housing scheme is transforming Liverpool’s empty properties.
A selection from the several thousand photographs I’ve taken this year for this blog. Taken all together they tell one story of the year. Not a definitive one, more of a meander as you might expect.
In a year that’s been turbulent in so many ways it’s been good to have this blog to come home to. A quiet place to reflect and to tell some stories. Stories of ordinary days and determined people, trying to make our part of the world a better and fairer place.
We are going on site. Keys to our first home will be handed to builders later this week, ready to start work on turning a house that’s been empty for two years back into a home.
Though I haven’t written about Coming Home for some time on here we have been very busy getting everything going. Lots of time on legalities, practical preparations, working with Liverpool City Council’s Empty Homes team and with much help and publicity from BBC Radio Merseyside thank you, so that now we are ready, ready to start work on our first home.