Launch of a new online resource – ‘Social Sustainability in Gloucestershire’

Barnwood Trust and Social Life are pleased to launch a new online toolkit focused on the social dimensions of new housing developments in Gloucestershire.

Story update: a well-received launch event was attended by a wide cross section of organisations including representatives from the County and district councils, housing associations, health and third sectors.

Social Sustainability website for Gloucestershire

Social Life have developed a new web-based toolkit, together with the Trust, to showcase examples of organisations and communities which have successfully created places that are more socially sustainable. The new digital resource will soon be launched for place-makers in the county who have an interest in Housing, Health, Well-being and Social Sustainability.

Speaking for Barnwood Trust, Head of Social Sustainability Martin Hawkins said: “Projections suggest around 50,000 new homes will be built in Gloucestershire by 2031. Many of these will be in large developments with new settlements of 4,000 to 5,000 homes. Creating the conditions where people living in these new communities can easily connect and integrate with one another, and with existing neighbouring populations, is fundamental to developing these new places successfully. We wanted to commission a study into the components needed to make this possible.”

In partnership with Social Life

Barnwood Trust has been working with partner Social Life to develop a toolkit for organisations interested in developing and supporting sustainable new communities. In 2016, with other partners Bromford Housing and Cheltenham Borough Homes, Barnwood published an introductory resource, Welcome to the Future for those involved in planning, developing and managing housing. It set out the essential building blocks to create sustainable communities, not just houses and infrastructure.

The new Social Sustainability online toolkit will further develop the Welcome to the Future document by offering a dedicated website for Gloucestershire, showcasing examples from across this county and further afield – demonstrating in practical terms how different organisations have gone about creating places that are more socially sustainable, as well as recognising the many challenges involved in the work.

Speaking for Social Life, Nicola Bacon said: “Social Sustainability is about both housing and community – a process for creating sustainable, successful places that promote wellbeing, by understanding what people need from the places they live and work.”

“This resource has been developed following discussions with a range of stakeholders. It looks in detail at the issues that affect the social sustainability of a project and how different approaches have helped address them, in the fields of planning, housing, development and community.”

Case studies on the website include:

Community House Hubs, Cheltenham – showcasing an example of repurposing existing buildings to create flexible community spaces.

Wellesley, Aldershot – a brownfield ex-MOD site on the edge of town, where long-term resources have been committed to community development, embedded in the Section 106 agreement, to help provide continuity in the area.

Taunton Waterside, Somerset – an example where an unused space on a development has been turned into a community garden by a resident’s group, together with their housing association landlord.

A network of place-makers in Gloucestershire

Director of Social Change at Barnwood Trust, Lawrence Miller said: “We hope the new Social Sustainability toolkit will provide a focal point for conversations around this complex subject. We want to be a part of a network of place-makers in Gloucestershire, building knowledge together and developing partnerships; to help us better understand and integrate social sustainability as good practice in how homes and communities are developed in Gloucestershire.”

For more information about Social Sustainability and to connect with the Social Sustainability team at Barnwood Trust, contact Martin Hawkins on 01242 539935 or at