RUSS is a community land trust run by volunteers passionate about community-led affordable housing. Our self-build community space will be built on the site of RUSS’s first housing scheme on Church Grove in Ladywell.
Our project has 3 parts:
1. We will offer opportunities for local people and volunteers to participate actively in a sustainable construction project through the building of the community space itself.
2. Once built, the space will host the School of Community-led Housing piloted by RUSS and become a knowledge hub to share and inspire other communities in self-building and affordable housing projects
3. We will use the space to test ideas and consult with the Ladywell community on our future goal of a permanent community space that can bring new residents and the existing community together.
Lewisham Council support our project & we will be applying for planning permission shortly. In the unlikely event we are not successful, no money will be taken from backers.
What we'll deliver:
- We’ll design and build a single-storey structure on our Church Grove site in Ladywell.
- The building will be in use for the duration of our housing project approx. 2-3 years.
- We’ll create a series of workshops and build-days that can be booked by anyone wanting to get involved.
- Anyone will be able to volunteer and get hands-on experience building as we build the structure.
- Working with community partners we will run a programme of talks and workshops in the space once built.
- The space will be a hub for sharing knowledge on self-building, community-led housing and sustainable building.
- We will carry out a local consultation to research what people want from a permanent community space on Church Grove
- We’ll test out ideas from the consultation in the community space and gather feedback on their success.
- We will work on planning the next phase of the project to secure a permanent facility on the site for community use.
Why it's a great idea:
Lewisham has a history of self-build going back to 1985 when Council tenants built their own homes with no previous building experience led by architect Water Segal. Our self-build community space will utilise the Segal timber frame building method together with natural materials such as timber and straw bale.
We will source recycled/reclaimed materials locally where possible and will experiment with off-grid technologies such as rain water collection to create an environmentally sustainable, low impact space. Participants in the construction phase will be mentored by RUSS members, volunteer design professionals and partner organisations that RUSS will work with.
Once operational the location of the space will be unique, overlooking RUSS’s Church Grove housing project bringing the hub to life with practical learning on the doorstep.
The building will be designed so that at the end of the project, materials can be reused in permanent structures on the site.
Steps to get it done:
- Summer 2017: Finalise design for building and share on Spacehive page
- Submit planning application for new building to London Borough of Lewisham
- Autumn 2017: Planning permission granted
- Carry out consultation with local community (ongoing process)
- Make local connections who will partner with RUSS to run workshops and the self-build project.
- Source materials and develop detailed design, plan construction phases and logistics for work on site
- Publicise the construction project and advertise workshops and building sessions that can be booked by the community.
- Spring 2018: Community volunteers build the structure
- Summer 2018 onwards: The community space is open! A programme of events run by RUSS and partner organisations begins.
To make our project truly sustainable and successful we need your help! See our wish list for materials, skills and volunteers we are looking for.
We already have support from other organisations and hope the whole community can get behind this idea!
"Meanwhile Space is very happy to support RUSS community land trust with their Space Hive campaign for a community hub space in Ladywell. This is a great use of a temporary structure during the construction phase of the self build project on Church Grove, enabling RUSS with a space to teach the self builders and run community events'.
From Meanwhile Space
'RUSS have been at the forefront of efforts to build a community-led, sustainable solution to London’s housing crisis since they launched in 2009. This new hub reflects RUSS’s commitment both to supporting the wider community and to training new community housing groups, and will help the Church Grove site to thrive.'
From National Community Land Trust Network