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Ladywell Self-Build Community Space

Funded on Spacehive 10 October 2017 Delivered 14 December 2019

Impact data and claims within this report are provided by the project creator and have not been independently verified by Spacehive.

Ladywell Self-Build Community Space

Rural Urban Synthesis Society By Rural Urban Synthesis Society

We want to self-build a community space on our site in Ladywell with local people and volunteers to create a knowledge hub for self-building, community-led housing and sustainable living.

Lewisham Delivery stage

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This project was funded on 10 Oct 2017!

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

Location Lewisham

About the space

Church Grove, Ladywell, Lewisham


London Borough of Lewisham

How will the money be spent?Total £53,449

External walls, windows & doors - £10,579 (20%)
External services connection (foul, sanitary, mains water, mains electric) - £8,000 (15%)
Site preparation & project set-up - £6,453 (12%)
Services (sanitary, lighting, power, heating, water) - £5,300 (10%)
Groundworks & substructure - £5,101 (10%)
Project contingency - £4,600 (9%)
Roof - £4,583 (9%)
External landscaping & access provision - £1,675 (3%)
External drainage - £1,500 (3%)
Internal finishes & decorating - £1,365 (3%)
Other - £4,293 (8%)

Costs Breakdown

This shows how money raised for the project will be spent. These costs have been confirmed by the project's Delivery Manager and verified.

External walls, windows & doors
External services connection (foul, sanitary, mains water, mains electric)
Site preparation & project set-up
Services (sanitary, lighting, power, heating, water)
Groundworks & substructure
Project contingency
External landscaping & access provision
External drainage
Internal finishes & decorating
Other Read More
  • Structural frame
  • Spacehive fees
  • Insurances
  • Transaction Fees
  • Internal walls & doors
  • Planning application submission
  • VAT

Total £53,449

Our Volunteer List

We're currently looking for people to offer skills and time to develop our project! Check out the list of what we need below and then use the 'Volunteer' button to the right to get involved.
  • We have allowed for new materials in our budget as a worst-case to ensure we can deliver the project, but our aim is to use recycled/reclaimed materials as much as possible. We are hence interested in donations of the following either new or used;
  • Floor materials: Timber joists, floorboards, decking
  • Timber frame materials: Structural timber posts and beams, timber joists/battens
  • Roof materials: Roofing tiles or other materials, rainwater piping/gutters
  • External doors: Single or double doors Windows: Any size – we’ll adapt the design to suit
  • Natural materials: Such as straw, cob, material suitable for use in rammed earth structures, lime render.
  • Fit-out: Paint, wood board, sanitary appliances (washbasin/WC), kitchen sink/fridge, furniture (chairs, tables)
  • Tool and equipment loans/discounted hire would be very welcome as another way to support the project.
  • To deliver the self-build community space, RUSS will be teaming up with other organisations and individuals. We’re looking for volunteers to help us run workshops, teach skills and manage the construction of the self-build community space.
  • We’d be especially keen to hear from anyone with experience in natural building techniques such as straw bale construction, rammed earth, cob or experience in Walter Segal methods and/or timber frame construction
  • We’d also love to join with organisations/people who run workshops on sustainable technologies, especially the DIY kind such as solar panels, rainwater harvesting, off-grid electricity generation, compost toilets etc.
  • We will need to store materials securely, whether on site or nearby. We would welcome access to a facility to store materials close to Church Grove or donated or reduced rates for onsite storage such as a shipping container.
  • Anyone enthusiastic and wanting to help in any capacity is welcome – just drop us a line – we’d love to hear from you!

Want to help?

Do you have stuff or skills to contribute to this project? Use this tool to offer something to the project creator.



£500 budget to buy power tools for shared use by RUSS and by “little house in garden” projects of Time4homes (proposed time bank, of which more later).
I live locally and could lend a hand with building the project on a Saturday or Sunday. It would be great to contribute to a local project like this and learn about building in the process. I work full time as an administrator in an architectural practice.
A collection of power tools from a generous donor including circular saws, sander, planer and drills.
Nadia Razak offered
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