Cork City Council Housing Department secured the overall national winner award at the Irish Council for Social Housing Community Housing Awards 2021, sponsored by Allianz, on the 23rd September. The Biennial Community Awards were presented by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alison Gilliand.
Members of the public also had an opportunity to vote for the project they felt most deserved of recognition and Carraig Eden, a transitional supported accommodation residence in Greystones scooped the inaugural Public Choice Award.
Speaking at the 2021 Community Housing Awards, Donal McManus, Chief Executive of the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) said: “Cork City’s Competitive dialogue process has been used very successfully to deliver 650 social and affordable homes to date across Cork City. Through dialogue with private developers, the approach has encouraged innovative and competitive proposals to develop residential sites in collaboration with Cork City Council and approved housing bodies. What stood out for judges was the positive and proactive approach by the Council in reducing administrative barriers that led to successful delivery, an approach that can be replicated, in particular, to regenerate challenging brownfield sites, and to deliver housing more affordably and in greater numbers during this crisis period for housing.
Members of the public also voted wisely when they chose Carraig Eden for our first ever Public Choice Award. Receiving the highest number of votes from the more than 5,000 voters, the entry is a collaborative project between Wicklow County Council and the approved housing body Tiglin. The landmark building faced demolition and has been beautifully restored to provide 35 en-suite transitional supported accommodation units, operated by Tiglin. Judges applauded Wicklow County Council, who championed this project, demonstrating what can be done when the will is there”.
Brian Geaney, Assistant Chief Executive, Cork City Council said “The Competitive Dialogue system has enabled us here in Cork City to find sustainable solutions in terms of accommodation across the City and provides flexibility for changing requirements as they evolve in this dynamic space”.
Aubrey McCarthy, Chairperson, Tiglin said “Carraig Eden bridges the gap that many fall into after rehabilitation. It’s a buffer against people entering homelessness and Wicklow County Council said yes, let’s fight for this. I salute the staff at Tiglin and residents at Carraig Eden who were willing to stand up and fight to save this vital service. We look forward to working with Wicklow County Council over the future”.
Gillian Power, Senior Executive Engineer, Wicklow County Council said “This award is all about collaboration and Wicklow County Council couldn’t have asked for a better partner in Tiglin. They are an amazing organisation who bring hope and support to people who have temporarily lost their way in life.”
Mr McManus of the ICSH added “The 2021 award entries demonstrate the dedication of the sector – both approved housing bodies and local authorities – and the scale of the work that is ongoing throughout the country, despite the many obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to both new development and housing management. The ICSH applaud all our approved housing body members and local authority partners who submitted entries during these challenging times, and would like to recognise the support of the Department of Housing, local Government and Heritage in the delivery of these projects.
Notes for Editors
- Details of the winning entries are available here https://icsh.ie/awards/icsh-allianz-community-housing-awards-2021/.
- The Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) was established in 1982 and is the national social housing federation of nonprofit voluntary and other national housing associations. The ICSH represents more than 270 member organisations managing 45,000 homes for 100,000 people including families on a low income, older people, disabled people, and households experiencing homelessness. ICSH members operate in every local authority area in the country and in over 500 communities across Ireland.
- Alongside the overall winner and Public Choice winner, eleven additional projects received awards for their excellence in homeless projects, most creative supply, housing for people with disabilities, housing for families, collaboration initiatives, housing for older people, community integration, regeneration, housing management and the contribution to Housing ‘Margaret O Leary’ award. The eleven category winners are:
- Homelessness: Cope Galway
- Most Creative Supply: Cork City Council – Competitive Dialogue
- Housing for People with Disabilities: Peter Triest
- Housing For Families (Large): Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council
- Housing for Families (Small): Roscommon County Council
- Collaboration: Wicklow Councty Council and Tiglin
- Housing for Older People: Fold Housing
- Community Integration: HAIL Housing
- Regeneration: Clúid Housing
- Housing Management: Clúid Housing
- Contribution to Housing ‘Margaret O Leary’: Pauline McNamara (Cuan an Chláir)
- Notes on Cork City Council Competitive Dialogue Process: Housing Delivery via the EU procurement system based on a Competitive Dialogue process has been adopted for delivery of social & affordable housing schemes across Cork City by the City Council over the past 5 years with great success. The process has been a twin pronged approach whereby the Council initially approaches the market place seeking solutions, where prequalified bidders make proposals for sites and develop suitable solutions in collaboration with the Council. Once solutions are acceptable in terms of design and cost, the Council can then process the selected schemes, be they apartments or houses through a Part 8 planning process. The Part 8 planning process involves the proposal being advertised for submissions by the public and voted on by the Elected Members of the local authority. Schemes given planning consent are then put through a final tender process and assessed and ranked by an independent selection panel. Schemes are assessed against advertised award criteria such as suitability, price, quality and sustainability. The City Council then signs project delivery agreements with the successful bidders subject to finance by the Department of Housing. Over the past four years, close to 650 homes have been delivered (or are under construction) across the city via this route in addition to its traditional construction methods. It is in full swing this year, with a new round of schemes for both social and affordable homes around the city, involving hundreds of apartments and houses. Some of these schemes will contain rightsized homes and specialised solutions as required by the Council.
- Notes on Carraig Eden, Wicklow County Council and Tiglin Approved Housing Body: Built in the 1800s and modified in the 1960s, Carraig Eden had been leased by the Approved Housing Body, Tiglin since 2009, to prevent homelessness in individuals who have taken steps to rehabilitate and become addiction free. Accommodation was provided by Tiglin for 30 individuals in supported accommodation with progression to either private rented accommodation or social housing. In 2016, the Council became aware that the property was being sold, and that residents were in immediate danger of becoming homeless, and so they immediately engaged with all necessary stakeholders to prevent this. The interagency work is a key focus of homeless policy in Wicklow. Wicklow County Council, Tiglin and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage worked in a highly collaborative manner to ensure funding was made available to enable the building to be purchase and upgraded within a tight timeframe. Accommodation changed from shared bedrooms and bathrooms to 35 en-suite single bedrooms, and the kitchen and common rooms were transformed to very liveable shared spaces. The high-quality and energy-efficient refurbishment work to the building, as well as its surroundings, sends a message to the residents that they are valued.