YoCo: A community, made through exchange

We’ve had a pretty full-on year at YorSpace, having successfully surpassed our target raise in our first Community Share Issue and moved towards starting on-site at Lowfield Green. Over the summer, we’ve also been working with local residents and community organisations to develop ideas about creating York’s first community-led neighbourhood.

Armed with a small Community Led Housing start-up grant, we’ve been looking at how a co-owned neighbourhood could look on a portion of the York Central site, adjacent to the City centre. Catchily called YoCo (York Central Co-owned), we built on the excellent community engagement of My York Central and the 8 big ideas which that work generated.

Over the past few months, we’ve featured in York Festival of Ideas, held a variety of online events, and in August, organised a community picnic in a public park just off Leeman Road, while simultaneously holding a virtual one online. We’re nothing if not resourceful! The virtual picnickers, led by local poet and wordsmith Julia Davis, even wrote a poem about how YoCo might look.

YoCo is about so much more than homes. Yes, there will be sustainable and affordable homes, but it will also feature shared work, creative and community space as well as outdoor areas for all. To help this happen, we’re looking at how locally generated prosperity can sustain the neighbourhood, benefiting local people and businesses over the long term. We’re aiming high, hoping to inspire a better development on the wider York Central site and create a place for communities, not just for profit. Read more about YoCo's approach here.

YorSpace, as a local community organisation, has hosted this early stage of YoCo to ensure transparency and accountability. However this is a short term measure, simply to get it off the ground, and YoCo is in the early stages of setting up its own Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG). We intend to stay with YoCo on its journey and have been delighted to help this early stage.

Pioneering, imaginative and community-led: That’s what we’re here for, and we’d gladly do it again!