Virtual Coffeehouse Conversation: Prioritising Fair and Equal Housing

Fellowship Event


Online via Zoom

  • Creativity
  • Community engagement
  • Social networks
  • Rawthmells
  • Virtual Coffee House
  • Fellowship
  • Fellowship in Action

The RSA Coffeehouse has opened its virtual doors to our global community of Fellows, friends, family and colleagues. Inspired by the origin of the RSA as an enlightenment coffeehouse 300 years ago, our Virtual Coffeehouse Conversations event series offers an interactive space for Fellows to share and discuss ideas for social change. This is an opportunity to find support and feedback from the Fellowship community, with conversation and connection at its heart.

Covid-19 has accentuated inequalities in the UK housing system. Many feel that longstanding concerns should no longer be sidelined. Where can we go from here?

For many, Covid-19 has accentuated inequalities in the UK housing system. Forced to isolate within the home, many feel that common concerns such as risk of eviction, rising homelessness, temperamental rent and mortgage rates, overcrowding, lack of green space and lack of close community support should no longer be sidelined. Two RSA Fellows will present their positive ideas on how to deliver hope to the housing market. There will be time for you to reflect on these ideas, share your own and find inspiration.

Becky O’Connor FRSA will explore the surge in ‘perma renters’ and the growing inequalities between private renters and homeowners. What used to be viewed as a temporary housing solution for young adults has become the tenure of a lifetime. Hope could come in the form of large-scale development from institutional investors in affordable, long-term private rented accommodation.

After living alone for ten years, Allan Shepherd FRSA sold his home and moved into a housing co-op. The big leap back into shared living changed his life. He found community, friendship, resilience, economic stability, and access to the kind of house and garden he would never have been able to afford as a tenant or mortgage holder. In this talk he shares his experiences of community-focused living, and the vision he and his colleagues at the Wales Co-operative Centre have for building a community-led housing movement in the post Covid-19 world.


Becky O'Connor FRSA is personal finance specialist at Royal London, and co-founder of Good With Money, the ethical personal finance website. She is a former finance, property and business journalist for The Times, where she covered the financial crisis and its impact on individuals and the housing market. Becky also sits on the ethical advisory committee for Castlefield Investment Management. She has a strong interest in how the investment industry can improve its impact on the environment and society without sacrificing returns to savers, and believes renewable energy and affordable housing are two key sectors for this shift in capital.

Allan Shepherd FRSA worked as a publisher and author for twenty years before becoming Wales’ first cohousing officer. He is now working as a community-led housing enabler for the Wales Co-operative Centre.


The event will take place via the online conferencing platform, Zoom. You will receive the link to this meeting upon registering for the event, and again as a reminder 30 minutes beforehand. The event will be conducted in English.

If you have questions about this event, please email Rachel Godin (RSA Coffeehouse and London Events Manager) at [email protected].