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Rebecca Dillon

Feature in London Funders' Memeber Focus

Below is the recent article featured in London Funders’ Member focus who interviewed Ashley Horsey our Chief Executive.

Commonweal Housing

In November, we welcomed Commonweal Housing into membership. Ashley Horsey, Chief Executive, will tell us a bit more about the work it does.

Ashley, welcome to London Funders. Please tell us what makes Commonweal Housing unique as an organisation.

I am not sure we are unique but certainly unusual, from what I can gather. We seek to be active, strategic partners in the projects we fund and support. We aim to develop new, innovative, role model demonstration projects providing housing-based solutions to social injustices. We bring capital funding in the form of housing along with strategic business focus and expertise. We also commission external independent evaluation of the projects and, assuming that evaluation is positive, we then use some more of our resources to promote and seek replication of successful models. The combination of capital funding, evaluation funding and promotion/ replication funding in one package is not common.

As a Chief Executive, what do you enjoy most about your role?

Challenging orthodoxy and working to find solutions to situations where people say “oh that will never work!”

Is there one particular project you have supported in recent years that stands out for you?

Our Re-Unite project in partnership with the housing association, Housing for Women, is special. This provides housing and support for mothers who would be homeless upon release from prison, enabling them to be reunited with their children. It breaks the vicious cycle of mothers with no (or inadequate) accommodation, who then can’t have custody of their children and if they don’t have custody of the children they are not eligible for appropriate family accommodation…..

What are your key challenges in the funding work you do?

The limitations on ongoing revenue and support funding for our project partners especially in the current context of public sector cutbacks.

What are your primary reasons for joining LF and what do you hope to get out of your membership?

Commonweal Housing are neither an out-and-out funder nor a service delivery organisation – I see London Funders as an excellent networking opportunity and to keep abreast of issues and concerns for mainstream funding bodies.

What can Commonweal Housing offer to other members?

 A willingness and desire to work in strategic partnership with others.

Ashley, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us.

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