The winners of the first William Sutton Prize have been announced at an awards ceremony in London. The prize was launched this year by Clarion Housing Group as a tribute to the legacy of William Sutton (the Victorian entrepreneur who left his entire estate to fund homes for the poor of London) and as a means to promote innovation for public good.
Micro Rainbow International took home the prize for Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, for their proposal to expand the number of safe homes available to vulnerable LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees.
The VeloCity team were crowned winners of the prize for Excellence in Social Housing Design and Placemaking. VeloCity is comprised of a group of professionals from the built environment sector, their vision is to redesign villages for the 21st century with higher density housing and a design that promotes physical activity and an end to car dependency.
Both of the winning entries will receive a £20,000 prize to further develop their projects from Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group. The winners were selected by a panel comprised of Clare Miller (Group Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group), Peter Fortune, Greg Reed (Clarion Housing Group Board), Biljana Savic (Director of the Academy of Urbanism) and Peter Holbrook (Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK).
Clare Miller, Group Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group said:
“I am thrilled that we will be supporting Micro Rainbow and the VeloCity team through the William Sutton Prize. Our winners are inspiring and innovative projects that have the potential to change thousands of lives.
To have more than eighty applications in the inaugural year of the William Sutton Prize is very humbling. We have been blown away by the quality of and diversity of the applications from across the country.”
Micro Rainbow International was set up as a community interest company to provide safe housing for LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. The first safe home opened in October 2017 and the organisation now has five properties, which can support up to 40 refugees. By 2021, they plan to manage 40 properties across the country and house 320 refugees.
Sebastian Rocca from Micro Rainbow International commented:
“We are delighted that our project was chosen, amongst so many worthy causes. The financial prize will enable Micro Rainbow International to reach out to more LGBTI asylum seekers who are homeless and face violence. In times when feelings of hate and division seem to be more popular than those of love and solidarity, this prize sends a clear message: we are not alone in our fight for equality. We need more companies like Clarion Housing Group who take pride in standing for community values and human rights.”
The VeloCity team have visionary designs for the future of villages. They seek to reimagine the the village for the 21st century, focusing on new higher density housing typologies which promote car free environments and more diverse, self-supported communities. The proposals align with the recently updated NPPF (National Policy Planning Framework), which encourages new developments that promote walking and cycling.
Sarah Featherstone from the VeloCity team commented:
“We are very excited that Clarion is supporting our vision to develop new exemplar housing that will breathe new life into villages. This comes at an important time when there is a growing concern for the future sustainability of our villages and an urgent need to create more diverse and healthy communities.”