Winners of the third William Sutton Prize announced

The winners of the third William Sutton Prize have been announced at an awards ceremony which took place virtually last night [25 March].

Ecomotive and SNUG Homes took home The William Sutton Prize for Placemaking and Affordable Housing Design for their proposal for a construction and training hub in Bristol that will enable residents to co-produce eco-friendly, modular housing in response to local needs.

The project will also provide apprenticeship, volunteering and employment opportunities, as well as self-build training and support for community-led housing initiatives. The aim is to use the £20,000 prize fund to scale up a pilot project established in the Lockleaze area of Bristol in 2019.

Highly commended was a proposal by Editional Studio, whose founders were featured in AJ’s ‘40 under 40’, to create a Roving Retrofit Workshop that will work with housing associations and residents to retrofit and upgrade their homes. The £5,000 prize fund will help develop the concept further, enabling residents to reduce their carbon consumption and energy bills through hands-on workshops and go on to train and qualify as green retrofit contractors.

The winner of The William Sutton Prize for Social Innovation was a hub providing ‘seed to spoon’ food education for primary school children in Hackney. Opened in 2020, The Hackney School of Food is a collaboration between charity Chefs in Schools, the LEAP Federation – made up of three state primary schools in Hackney – and architect Surman Weston that transformed an old building and area of disused land into a food education hub.

Through the hub, primary school children benefit from food education and the local community receive free cooking classes, enabling children and adults to learn to grow fruit and vegetables, tend beehives, cook over fire and turn produce into meals. The £20,000 prize fund will be used to share the model with other schools to create nurturing environments for children to engage with food and growing.

Highly commended was a proposal by Enable Ability for a new service that helps people with anxiety access health, social care and education services through the use of immersive technology, including virtual tours, walk through videos and virtual reality. During the pandemic, the service has been developed and delivered by young autistic and disabled people, building in lived experience, and the £5,000 prize fund will help roll out the service and develop it further.

Now in its third year, The William Sutton Prize was developed by Clarion Housing Group to celebrate the legacy of its founder, William Sutton, 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 on offer to help develop the idea and maximise its impact. The funding is provided by Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group.

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

Clare Miller, Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group, commented:
“The William Sutton Prize is all about finding innovative solutions to challenges facing society. Ecomotive and SNUG Homes’ proposal for a construction and training hub to build new eco-friendly homes and provide employment opportunities fits perfectly with our mission as a social landlord.

“I’m also delighted we’ll be working with the team behind The Hackney School of Food to help grow their food education programme and work with more children to sow the seeds of lifelong healthy eating habits. I’m excited to see how both projects develop and make a positive impact on their communities.”

Anna Hope, Director of Ecomotive and SNUG Homes, said:
“We are really honoured to receive this recognition, especially alongside so many other inspiring entries. Receiving this award is a massive boost, and we’re excited to start scaling up our co-production hub in Bristol. With Clarion's support we are looking forward to growing our community of builders, helping to address the climate emergency and building more quality eco homes.”

Biljana Savic, Director of The Academy of Urbanism, said:
“Once again it has been my absolute pleasure to judge The William Sutton Prize for Placemaking and Affordable Housing Design on behalf of the Academy of Urbanism. With good quality homes and places being essential in ensuring strong and resilient communities, it was heartening to observe a strong social and community focus in this year’s shortlisted proposals.

“From the highly commended scheme that tackles the immense challenge of retrofitting the ageing housing stock in a way that puts local residents and homeowners at the heart of the solution, to the winning proposal that creates, in its authors' words, an “eco-system of community participation based on the co-production of housing to meet real local needs”, the finalists provided a range of inspirational ideas for addressing the affordable housing crisis in the UK and beyond. I hope that the Prize will be a catalyst for these great ideas and I look forward to seeing them come to fruition.”

Tom Walker, Head Food Educator at The Hackney School of Food, said:
“Winning The William Sutton Prize is such an exciting moment for us as a team. The prize fund will make a huge difference to our plans, helping us to share our hugely successful model with other schools to enable more children and communities to benefit. We know that seeing where your food comes from and learning about healthy eating and cooking sets children up for life and we’re looking forward to working with Clarion to grow our concept further.”

Peter Holbrook CBE, CEO of Social Enterprise UK, said:
“Every year applications for The William Sutton Prize go from strength to strength and in this most difficult of years it was brilliant to see a record number of inspiring projects apply for the Prize. Initiatives like the Hackney School of Food are vital in building stronger, more sustainable communities and have a huge role to play in reducing the inequalities of health, wealth and opportunities the pandemic revealed. Congratulations to all the organisations who made the shortlist, I look forward to seeing them grow, develop and increase their impact.”

To register your interest for the fourth year of The William Sutton Prize, simply get in touch via email and the team will contact you once applications open.