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MPCAN visits Homebaked CLT and Kitty’s Launderette in Liverpool!

In November last year, members of the Miles Platting Community and Age-Friendly network (MPCAN) had a day out in Liverpool to visit and learn more about Homebaked Community Land Trust and Kitty’s Launderette. Moving forward with a community-led development of the St Cuthbert’s church site, the St Cuthbert’s action group are becoming inspired by other community hubs, gaining ideas they hope to bring to developing a new social space for local residents in Miles Platting. Previously, MPCAN have visited Gorton Hub, Moston Miners and the Carlton Club in Whalley Range- these are great projects we have already learnt lots from!

Homebaked Community Land Trust

Our first stop of the day was Homebaked, where Tom Murphy (local resident, coordinator and secretary) gave us insight into the journey they took to becoming a community land trust (CLT). This is a not for profit, incorporated organisation established for furthering community benefit. They are run by volunteers to deliver housing and other community assets at permanent, genuinely affordable levels for local people. CLT’s allow communities to own, take control of, and develop their own land.

Tom talked to MPCAN members about the challenges that Homebaked have faced, not only from initially choosing a governance model that didn’t work for them, but also being situated just opposite Liverpool Football Club, on the boundary of Everton and Anfield. We learnt more about the pros and cons of different legal structures and how they eventually became a community land trust. This discussion was especially useful for the St Cuthbert’s action group as we think about potential governance models to move the project forward into 2024.

Homebaked is currently working with URBED to refurbish the terraced homes on Oakfield Road using a retrofit approach. This aligns with their belief that residents all deserve to live well and have access to warm, affordable homes, alongside good quality jobs, and welcoming spaces for the community to meet, learn, and celebrate.

After an informative tour and chat, MPCAN members made a pit stop to the next door sister organisation, Homebaked Bakery, to try their famous pies. Thank you to Tom and Homebaked CLT for sharing your wisdom and knowledge with us! We learnt so much from hearing all about your journey.

Kitty's Launderette

Next up we walked round the corner to Grasmere Street, where project lead Anthony Scott welcomed us into Kitty’s Launderette. This is a community launderette and social space offering affordable, ecological laundry and dry-cleaning services, as well as a space for local residents to gather. Named after Kitty Wilkinson, an Irish migrant who managed the first washhouse during the cholera epidemic in 1832, Kitty’s Launderette’s main mission is to combat hygiene poverty in the local area.

The launderette is a workers community cooperative meaning both the workers and the community own and control the space. It is democratically run with regular board meetings involving workers, volunteers and members of the community. They are also a not-for-profit social enterprise, where all profits made are invested back into the local community. Their key areas of social impact include reducing hygiene poverty, providing a sense of community, jobs and inclusive growth, and health & well-being.

As Tom described, Anthony also spoke about the local loss of social housing alongside key community-based services such as youth centres and parish halls. Living in the shadow of economic prosperity from the football stadium has had its drawbacks, and the tourist economy has affected the local community. Kitty’s Launderette works to combat this as the space is also host to history talks, weekly knitting and craft groups, film screenings and tie-dye workshops. Last year, they held a total of 48 activities and events!

Anthony also talked us through how the launderette works- users have the option to do their laundry themselves or leave it up to the workers, with the cheapest wash option being £4. They also take on commercial contracts and often do work for local Airbnbs. Users are free to bring and use their own detergent but Kitty’s also sells an environmentally friendly brand called Ecoleaf, which users can refill at the launderette.

Overall, MPCAN members had a great day in Liverpool and brought back tonnes of amazing ideas for the St Cuthbert’s redevelopment project. Thank you so much to Homebaked CLT and Kitty’s Launderette for an enjoyable and informative day. We learnt loads from your brilliant projects and are excited to take this inspiration forward with our plans for Miles Platting!

To find out more about Homebaked CLT, click here:

To find out more about Kitty’s Launderette, click here: