William Sutton Prize shortlist announced after record-breaking applications

The third year of The William Sutton Prize run by Clarion Housing Group, the UK’s largest provider of affordable housing, has seen a record-breaking 154 applications. Of these, thirteen projects have been shortlisted, with many of the finalists’ proposals directly responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

Six projects* are shortlisted for The William Sutton Prize for Placemaking and Affordable Housing Design focusing on themes such as modular housing, retrofitting, supported housing and community co-production.

The shortlist includes projects by Assemble, a multi-disciplinary collective working across architecture, design and art, Editional Studio Ltd, whose founders were featured in AJ’s ‘40 under 40’ which celebrates the UK's most exciting emerging architectural talent, and Space and Motion, a design studio based in South London.

A further seven projects** will compete for The William Sutton Prize for Social Innovation, with the shortlist including projects focusing on issues such as food poverty and education, money management for community networks and family support.

The winners in both categories will be announced at a virtual event at the end of March.

The William Sutton Prize was developed by Clarion Housing Group to celebrate William Sutton’s legacy as a 19th century innovator and philanthropist who bequeathed his fortune to improve the quality of social housing.

It encourages individuals and organisations to present a new concept, service or idea that will benefit social housing residents and communities, with a prize fund of up to £20,000 on offer for each category to help develop the idea and maximise its impact. The funding is provided by Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group.

In the Prize’s third year, the criteria have been updated to reflect new thinking and creativity and include projects or ideas developed during the coronavirus outbreak with potential for long-term impact.

The winning entries will be determined by a panel led by Clare Miller, Group Chief Executive of Clarion, and including Peter Holbrook CBE, CEO of Social Enterprise UK and Biljana Savic, Director of the Academy of Urbanism.

In 2019, Fat Macy’s took home The William Sutton Prize for Social Innovation for their proposal to expand their supper clubs and catering events which get young Londoners off the streets and into their own homes whilst providing work experience.

The winner of The William Sutton Prize for Placemaking and Affordable Housing Design in 2019 was Jas Bhalla Architects’ proposal for a planning policy that encourages the transformation of nine main roads in Outer London into dense, urban streets through place-based design guidance.

Clare Miller, Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group, commented:
“When we opened applications for this year’s William Sutton Prize in the midst of a pandemic, we didn’t know what to expect. Several months later, we’ve seen a record number of applications with many showcasing innovative ideas developed to tackle some of the challenges society is facing due to coronavirus – it’s inspirational. My fellow judges and I are looking forward to meeting the creative minds behind our shortlisted projects and deciding on our winners.”

Biljana Savic, Director of The Academy of Urbanism, said:
“This is the third year of The William Sutton Prize and I am excited to see the range and quality of proposals on the shortlist for the placemaking and design category. The proposals re-examine in innovative ways the concepts of home and neighbourhood, reflecting the changing lifestyles, societal needs and trends that were already in train and that the Covid crisis accelerated. Several of the shortlisted proposals also explore ways of empowering communities through co-creation and self-build models, tackling at the same time the climate change challenge. This is particularly impressive given the constraints around which the participating teams had to work due to the Covid pandemic. I look forward to discussing these inspirational proposals with my fellow judges.”

Peter Holbrook CBE, CEO of Social Enterprise UK, said:
“2020 has forced social enterprises to find new ways to support the communities they are set up to serve, and I look forward to finding out more about the projects in this amazing shortlist that have been set up to tackle the challenges posed by COVID-19 as well as those addressing the growing issue of climate change.”

*Shortlisted entries for The William Sutton Prize for Placemaking and Affordable Housing Design

Malachi Homes
The Salvation Army
A proposal to build new residential centres for former rough sleepers using modular construction, combining innovative construction with access to The Salvation Army’s wide array of support services helping people to tackle the complex reasons for their homelessness, under the name Malachi Homes.

WomenCentre Homes – A Home for the Future
WomenCentre Homes
A new charity launching a community-led supported housing scheme for women in housing crisis in the North of England to provide a suitable, affordable, permanent home with tenancy support, to enable women and their children to settle and thrive within their local community.

The Roving Retrofit Workshop
Editional Studio Ltd
A project that aims to work with housing associations and residents to retrofit and upgrade their homes by providing access to knowledge, skills and training from an expert design and build team. Through hands-on workshops, residents can reduce their carbon consumption and energy bills and go on to train to undertake construction work and qualify as green retrofit contractors.

Home-Made Bristol
Ecomotive and SNUG Homes
A modular housing factory with a mission, combining high quality design, sustainably-sourced materials, MMC housing production, apprenticeship, volunteer and employment opportunities for local people, self-build training and support for community led housing initiatives – creating a vibrant hub of community participation that co-produces housing in response to local needs.

The Terrestrial Town
A proposal addressing the interlocking challenges faced by rural communities in Dorset and the rest of the UK: a lack of affordable housing, economic decline and loss of livelihoods and environmental issues linked to climate change.

The Last Mile
Space and Motion
A set of public realm design interventions that address the ‘Last Mile’ logistics challenge of home delivery, combining drop-off lay-bys and delivery lockers with greenery, play areas and opportunities for safe community interaction to tackle social isolation.

**Shortlisted entries for The William Sutton Prize for Social Innovation

Accountable: Money management for community groups
The Social Change Nest CIC
Accountable is an online service that enables community groups with no bank account or legal status to manage their incomings and outgoings. It was born out of the need for communities responding to the pandemic to access funds and collaboratively manage it, and works in a transparent way so to avoid fraud or mismanagement.

Plastic Revolution
Nadine Jenkins
A concept bringing together plastic construction site waste and innovations in plastic recycling to repurpose plastic waste at source, creating products such as tiles, furniture and fittings to be used in the development under construction and providing education, training and employment opportunities.

What’s It Like?
Enable Ability
A new service that helps people who live with anxiety access health, social care, and education services through the use of immersive technology – virtual tours, walk through videos and virtual reality. During Covid lockdown we piloted both the service and our delivery using young autistic/disabled people as part of our specialist work experience program, Inter Activ, and now want to roll this out as a social firm.

Play attention
Beacon Family Services CIC
A proposal for experienced Theraplay® therapists to develop an app to enable parents to access resources and methods to ‘play attention’ to their child using healthy, playful interactions improving emotional wellbeing.

Parenting Apart Programme
The Parenting Apart Programme CIC
A four-week programme that allows parents going through divorce, separation and conflict to explore their family challenges, learn how to communicate and create a ‘Parent Working Agreement’ prioritising their child’s mental health, emotional and physical wellbeing.

Hackney School of Food
Chefs in Schools, LEAP Federation & Surman Weston
An innovative project that aims to improve the health of children through food education. Chefs in Schools, the LEAP Federation – made up of three state primary schools in Hackney – and Surman Weston want to share the model with other schools to create nurturing environments for children to engage with food and growing.

Kitchio Ltd
Kitchio provides healthy, convenient meals to working families through affordable recipe boxes. Recipes are easy to follow, quick to prepare and start at just £1 per portion, providing access to nutrition for low income groups.