Eco pod homes for vulnerable people

Published: Tuesday May 10, 2022

Bishop Rachel, wearing a high vis jacket, speaking to the gathered guests at the launch.The Diocese of Gloucester intends to buy six eco-friendly living pods to house vulnerable people in Gloucestershire, once a suitable site has been identified.

Prisoners are helping to bring environmentally-friendly ‘eco-pod’ homes to the South-West region, in a pioneering new project led by the South West Reoffending Partnership (SWRRP), supported by all five regional Police and Crime Commissioners.

Under the leadership of professional tradespeople at MMC Homebuilding Ltd, prisoners have been learning a range of modern construction skills at a site in Hardwicke, near Gloucester, while also gaining valuable work experience, supporting their rehabilitation in readiness for their release.

Bishop Rachel, who is Anglican Bishop to HM Prisons said: “This project is a wonderful and creative way of giving some of the most vulnerable people in society a chance at a fresh start. Living pods not only provide purposeful work and skills for those in prison but also have the potential to provide homes for those leaving prison, as well as providing homes for anyone requiring affordable and accessible accommodation.”

“We know that the huge barriers to people being able to turn their lives around when they leave prison include not having the right support around addiction; the lack of valued and trusted relationships; the lack of purposeful work; and of course the lack of a place to live which isn’t simply a shelter or even a house, but is a home.

“These homes are the sort of transformation I want to be part of – the sort of world I want to be living in. And I’m delighted that Bishop’s Council has made a decision to purchase six living pods as part of its commitment to social investments while still generating income, provided that we first identify the right land (and we are confident that we can do that), in the right community.”

Bishop Rachel went on to explain that the intention was that the pods would be used for vulnerable people, with wrap-around support from a church and a local community who had committed to supporting them.

She continued, “I’m really proud that Bishop’s Council took that decision and I hope it will encourage many other people to make that decision too.”

The eco pod homes offer more than much needed, quality, affordable accommodation for those that need it in the community. They are also easy to relocate, built using low carbon methods and offer high energy efficiency to reduce energy bills for the occupants.

One prisoner said: “This project is great for getting prisoners used to a day’s work, teamwork, working on your own initiative and also picking up new skills. I’m really confident that when I come out after this sentence I will make a success of my life.”

Using funding secured from the One Public Estate Programme a development framework will be implemented across the South-West. This framework will help to roll out the scheme and enable other public sector organisations to easily access modular housing providers, develop a pipeline of public-sector sites for housing and identify further prison support methods across the South West to assemble and construct the homes.

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