Tag Archives: Ronnie Hughes

Walking to Work: A Year to Live

I don’t know about you but Autumn’s always been a time of change and moving on for me. New schools and colleges started, leaving the day job, moving houses and, once upon a time, a new baby (Hello Clare). Then there’s writing this, this ‘what I do’ sort of thing for this website. Nothing as life changing and earth moving as any of those others. Or maybe it is? All new starts containing within them a sense of possible perfection, the pristine emptiness and possibilities of a new page, waiting to see what might get written on it?

The page, this time, is not going to be entirely blank. I’m not leaving behind all of the things I do. But in sitting down to write I’ve decided I won’t simply edit what’s already there. Because it’s Autumn and so time for a new start. Here goes.

After which promising start, written on a Friday in a nearby café (Hello Naked Lunch) over a cup of tea, I meandered around for a day or so. Coming up with not very much. It can be how writing goes sometimes. Though I’d decided on the ‘new start and almost blank page’ approach I needed to find some words to help my reader understand my general, and expressed right here, wish to work on a variety of things. I played around with a few words and phrases, thinking these might sum up the sections or paragraphs I could then go on and write about: stories, adventures, curiosity, being opinionated, helping out. But at three o’clock, going on two (it’s the day we turn the clocks back) on Saturday afternoon I was still stuck. Repeatedly erasing the paragraphs you can’t see where these new ones now sit.

Then I remembered I’ve already got a theme in my real life, never mind these literary devices like ‘the nearly blank page.’ A theme that’s sat behind or even in front of everything I’ve written since some time in August this year. Continue reading


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

Coming Home: Big Issue North

Coming Home Liverpool is in the Big Issue North.

“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.”

Continue reading

Coming Home: Working with Jane MacNeil

7v6a7876This has been a really good week for us at Coming Home Liverpool. We’ve met a lot of interesting people in our search for empty homes to work on, work is going well at the home in City Road Walton where we’re on site and, well, we’re enjoying ourselves getting our new idea going.

And a particular thing we’re both enjoying is working with our friend, Liverpool street photographer Jane MacNeil. We’ve commissioned Jane to spend some days with us and see what she gets. None of us know precisely what we’ll do with Jane’s photographs, but we will do something creative over time, so I don’t want to use up too many of them on here.

Jayne Lawless by Jane MacNeil.

Jayne Lawless by Jane MacNeil.

Continue reading

Coming Home in the Liverpool Echo

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.

The Coming Home team on site. Me, Jayne Lawless and Steve Ross of Penny Lane Builders.

The Coming Home team on site. Me, Jayne Lawless and Steve Ross of Penny Lane Builders.

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. 

‘Coming Home’ team tackling both housing shortage and empty homes problem. Continue reading

What are you doing on Tuesday evening?

Ev flyerAfter two and a half years of writing steadily on life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me, I’ve decided to take the blog, in a gentle sort of way, out into the public arena. So this will be the first in what I’d see as a series of regular gatherings. Where the readers and the writer of the blog can get together for actual conversations. About things I’ve written and life and Liverpool in general.

I’ll pick us a subject each time, from a recent blog post, to get us going. Then we’ll see where the conversation takes us. A feature and a joy from writing the blog has been the quality of contributions from its readers on the blog itself and on Twitter. So let’s see what we can come up with when we’re all sat round a couple of tables down in The Bistro.

The starting subject for this time is the recent blog post “A year to live: 10 things I’ve learned”. And more details of the why, wherefores and hows of this Tuesday’s event can be found here.

So I hope you’ll be able to make it. This evening, Tuesday, from 6:00 onwards, Everyman Bistro, Hope Street, Liverpool L1 9BH. See you there.

What it is I do

This is a new page from our website, explaining what I’m now doing for my work. But I thought I’d also issue it as a post, just in case you might want to take me on for anything, you know?

So, recently a friend said to me ‘You know I never know quite how to introduce you to people, to tell them what it is that you do. Obviously you write your blog, all about Liverpool and your opinions. So that’s one thing. But the things that earn you money seem harder to describe don’t they?’

Me with Sarah Horton. Out walking in recent days.

Me with Sarah Horton. Out walking in recent days.

So that started me thinking of writing something down, to help my friend and to get things straight in my own mind. But then some other people who are thinking of taking me on for some work asked me for a ‘C.V.’ So here it is, sort of. With occasional links.

What I do 

Now that our joint work as ‘a sense of place’ is done I’ve changed the balance of the work I now do to make the best of my own experience and interests. So I’ve stopped making films now and am working on coaching and mentoring small teams and individuals:

  • On what they stand for
  • What they want to do
  • Ideas on how they’ll go about doing it
  • And a continuing role asking awkward questions about how it’s all going

So, conversations and planning sessions – some in rooms, some in cafés, some on walks – based on what’s now over 40 years of experience of what I’ve always thought of as making the world a better, kinder, fairer place. Continue reading