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Sustainability

Eco start-up on a mission to fast-track community housing

A new social enterprise aiming to simplify and fast-track community co-housing projects in the UK has secured start-up funding with the support of green tech advisors in Greater Manchester. 

The Overview

Ric Frankland, managing director and founder of Wudl, a Manchester company which designs, manufactures and assembles timber frame eco-buildings, recently founded Fabric CIC to break down the barriers to community-led housing in the UK.

‘A must for sustainable living’

“Creating homes in co-designed environments, where people live in closer communities with shared amenities, is a must if future housing is to support both sustainable living and greater social inclusion,” Ric explained. 

“Co-housing was commonplace many years ago, but the process today is slow and niche. Our aim is to help communities, housing associations, landowners, developers and local authorities overcome barriers and make co-housing projects easier, faster and more mainstream.”

While there are organisations which provide advice on elements of the planning process - such as land acquisition, finance or project management - Fabric CIC is the first to provide a comprehensive service, including a ‘community formation’ app and ‘post-occupancy analysis’ for stakeholders.

Switched On

To help set up the social enterprise, Ric attended a series of Switched On masterclasses run by GC Business Growth Hub’s green technologies and services team.

Switched On is a fully-funded business development programme designed to help SMEs in Greater Manchester’s green technologies and services sector to grow through advice on business planning, sales skills and marketing strategy.

“The masterclasses provided me with the information and skills needed to develop a robust business plan and secure funding for the start-up. I also developed a sales and marketing strategy to raise Fabric CIC’s profile and drive the organisation forward,” Ric said.

Switched On Masterclass

‘Driving change in society’

Fabric CIC is already working with several organisations to progress new projects; one community co-housing proposal in Cornwall is now at the public consultation stage.

Daniel O’Connell, GC Business Growth Hub advisor, said: “Ric is a great example of an entrepreneur using their experience and knowledge to drive change in society. We’re in the middle of a housing crisis, but also an environmental emergency and increasing social isolation. Fabric CIC can help to deliver change on all three fronts, and I’m excited to see the impact it could have.” 

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