However, the Tiny House movement represents much more than that, promoting financial prudence, environmental sustainability and a shift away from consumer-driven mind-sets into a more flexible way of life.
Tiny Homes are of increasing interest, particularly to young people, because they are more affordable than a conventional home, allow for more creativity and flexibility, and offer a range of possibilities for living in community. They are a natural fit with co-housing, self-build and self-finishing.
They also have a lower carbon footprint and enable their owners to live more simply and in closer contact with nature. However, there are many practical hurdles to overcome, including getting access to land, securing planning permission, and meeting building regulations.
Only a month ago, final preparations were underway for the UK’s first Tiny Homes Event at Frome’s Cheese & Grain. Organised by a group of local FHfF volunteers, it was a sell-out that was attracting national attention. Over 250 delegates were booked to attend, and the programme included keynote speakers, workshops, films and discussions with experts from across the southwest with a track record in developing tiny homes and/or community-led housing. Other attractions included a tiny homes bookstall from Hunting Raven and an information desk staffed by people with personal experience of building, hosting or living in a tiny home. Then the coronavirus struck.
We’re glad to announce that the event has now been re-scheduled for Sunday 22 March 2021 and that booking will re-open around the end of the year. Please make sure you’re on the FHfF mailing list to be the first to know. We’d like to say a big thanks to Somerset Community Foundation and to all the individuals who donated money towards the 2020 event and have generously allowed us to keep their donation, thereby giving us the confidence and funds to reschedule.
In the meantime we’ve put together a resource pack about the speakers and exhibitors who were booked for the 2020 event and have applied for a £10,000 grant from the Community Led Homes Start Up Support Programme to explore next steps towards creating a tiny homes community in Frome. In the wake of the pandemic, we feel that tiny homes may prove to be more significant and appropriate than ever before.
FHfF is committed to exploring how tiny housing can alleviate the housing needs and aspirations of local people, particularly those on low incomes who are unable to access social housing, afford market rents or consider a house purchase. We have been encouraged by the fact that, over the past months, our public events have attracted a number of people who are ‘hidden homeless’ in and around Frome and who feel that tiny housing would be helpful to them on either a short-term or a long-term basis.
Our work so far has included setting up the Frome Tiny Homes Action Group, developing awareness and support via the Frome Tiny Homes Event, and building partnerships. We are now seeking further funding to explore the feasibility of creating a pilot tiny homes community in or near the town. FHfF wants to support the Frome Tiny Homes Action Group to grow in numbers, research planning issues, develop appropriate governance and financial models, identify potential sites, and learn from other projects, so that it is in a position to turn vision into reality.
Our goal is to create housing that is genuinely affordable and environmentally sustainable, which builds community through shared outdoor spaces and facilities, supports imaginative social enterprises and provides opportunities to develop skills through self-build or self-finishing. If you’d like to offer your support – for example by sharing your time, land, money or experience – please contact us at email@example.com.