Hidden Homeless

We’re proud to be shortlisted for 'Hidden Homeless', a competition seeking innovative approaches to decent housing for homeless young people in London. Our proposal, in collaboration with the award-winning Amos Goldreich Architecture, focuses on building a neighbourhood and providing opportunities through co-living/co-working.

Housing benefit cuts, insufficient supply of affordable housing, and cuts in council funding and mental health services have all left vulnerable people with nowhere to go. This new competition encourages designers and architects to tackle these urgent issues head-on.
— Jon Snow

Homelessness, access to housing and tenancy vulnerability are key areas of our work here in the UK, particularly surrounding temporary accommodation. Our projects empower vulnerable individuals and families to ensure their voices are heard within design processes and service provision.

Visit our projects page for more insights.

Discovering community-led design in China

Read about our latest work in China on the British Council blog.

Many sectors suffer from ‘jargon-overload’. The international development sector and emerging maker community are no different. Words can help us to be more precise, but they can also become a barrier to honest communication; too technical, too full of their own importance and arguably can discrimate against the poor.

Participatory design is not a new approach, but the buzz around these terms (co-, community-led, impact-driven, humanitarian, human-centred…) is hot. Should we agree on their definitions? Can they be overused? Do they mean the same thing in different places and to different groups?

In November, we set out as explorers. What does ‘community-led’ mean in China? We wanted to challenge our own assumptions, discover best practice and hear from makers. We connected with communities and designers in Beijing, Henan, Hong Kong, Hunan and Fujian, of Chinese, Taiwanese, English, Irish and French origin.

Fundraising for the right to play

Mother of two, Lynne Ashbridge is taking on the famous Great North Run this September, raising awareness of and fundraising for our work. Not a runner and, in her own words, partial to the 'occasional' chocolate brazil nut, this half marathon will be no mean feat. Hear from Lynne about why she's putting herself through it, her training journey so far and her fundraising goal.

My name is Lynne Ashbridge. I'm 62 years old and live in the North East of England with my husband Steve. We have two grown up daughters, Beth who is based in New York and Jo in London. I like to think that I'm fit for my age as I still play squash 2-3 times a week with Steve (and they are tough games not just a gentle jog around the court!)

I've always watched and supported the Great North Run - it's an institution born in the North East and is very dear to our Geordie hearts and minds.

This year Jo asked if I'd run the GNR with her for AzuKo. Beth soon joined us in solidarity, and is running a marathon distance over 6 races throughout New York City. Like us, she'll finish her running endeavours on Sunday 9 September. All three of us will cross the finish line together (hopefully).

(Photo: J. Brown)

(Photo: J. Brown)

JAAGO playspace design
Although the thought of running a half marathon (13.1 miles) is a daunting task - I’m definitely not a runner and never have been - I wanted to support AzuKo and help the charity design and build a playground for an impoverished community in rural Bangladesh. It makes me very proud the see the great work Jo is doing through AzuKo.

... Back to the beginning of this journey, which will finish in about 3 weeks:

Steve took me out running and in truth I barely ran for more than 200m. My chest was burning; I could hardly breathe. But not to be defeated I continued to go for small runs, which were always difficult. Eventually I participated in a 5km parkrun. I remember thinking I would never make it to the finish line. I did, and that gave me encouragement to go along the next week and try again. 

I have been running now for 9 months and I don’t know how it has happened as it has crept up on me slowly but I am now running for 90 mins (who would have thought that possible in the early days?) I have lost about 2 stone in weight and I feel fit and healthy.

As a team my daughters and I are aiming to raise £3,000 of which every penny will most definitely be put to good use in the design and construction of JAAGO playspace. When children get a good start in life it can be truly life changing and the world will be a better place for it. 

Donating money or giving your time to raise money may seem like a small thing to do however if we all join together then collectively it can become much bigger, and we can eradicate inequality.

What is getting me through this gruelling training is remembering how blessed I am and have been throughout my life. If I can help AzuKo improve lives then running 13.1 miles is a small task to undertake.

Please sponsor us and spread the word amongst friends and family.

We assure you that every penny raised will be put to the very best of use. The playspace will improve learning, emotional development and wellbeing, and most of all the children will be given the opportunity to just have fun. What can be more important than that?

Wish me luck on 9 September. Hopefully I'm on track with my training - I'll certainly give it my best shot. If I can't run the entire route I will crawl across the finish line. That’s my promise to all our supporters!

Follow Lynne’s training journey and cheer her on via Facebook. Lynne is currently at 60% of her fundraising goal. Show your support for her incredible effort.