Introduction to self-build workshop

Are you considering building a community-led housing project from scratch? Join us for a free workshop on Saturday 17 March in Brighton.

Group self build schemes can result in significant cost savings – sometimes as much as 40%. It also means you can have a say in creating the wider community. If your community-led housing group is thinking about this option then join us to hear from:

Places are limited to 20 people. The deadline for registering is 14 March. Email to find out more and sign up.

Introduction to financial planning for community-led housing video

On 24th February 2018 Nathan Brown (Co-op Culture) gave a workshop on ‘Introducing Financial Planning’ for community-led housing, on behalf of the Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust. Watch the full workshop below

Find the full slides from the workshop here. Find the example of the Radical Routes spreadsheet which is mentioned in the presentation here.

Nathan outlines in his talk different useful financial planning tools for community-led housing. These include:

  • The Radical Routes financial planning spreadsheet, which can be found at the bottom of this page – it’s a spreadsheet designed for housing co-ops, to work out what they can afford to buy, how much rent they need to set and what loans and loanstock they will need.
  • The Community Land Trust Appraisal Tool – This tool will help you to develop a financially viable affordable housing project. It’s more complicated than the Radical Routes spreadsheet, as it takes into account different ownership / tenure options, rather than just the housing co-op model.

There are various ethical lenders which community-led housing groups can get mortgages / loans from, including:

Please book a place to come to our next lending surgery on Monday 19 March for community-led housing groups to meet representatives from organisations which lend to community-led housing. At the lending surgery you will able to meet and discuss your plans with Mark Ogden (Triodos) and Sonya Powe (Unity Trust bank).

Please sign up to our mailing list to find out about future events.

For more information about grants, land, support and housing for community-led housing in Brighton & Hove, please see:

Community-Led Housing Programme launch video

If you missed the launch of our Community-Led Housing Programme on Wednesday 21 February, you can now watch all the speakers here.

The panel consisted of: Andrea Jones, Programme Manager; Councillor Anne Meadows, Chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee and a Labour & Co-operative representative for Moulsecoomb and Bevendean; Stephen Hill, Director at C2O futureplanners and a key player in community-led housing nationally; and Martyn Holmes of Brighton’s Bunker Self-Build Housing Co-op

Watch the video of the presentations below. The slides are available to download underneath.

Download Andrea Jones’ presentation
Download Stephen Hill’s presentation
Download Martyn Holmes’ presentation

We spoke to a few of the 200 people at the event about why they were there and what made them excited about community-led housing:

Read our report from the launch event here.
Find out more about the Brighton & Hove Community-Led Housing Programme here.

BHCLT is working with Co-operative Housing in Brighton & Hove (CHIBAH) and Mutual Aid In Sussex (MAIS) to deliver the Community-Led Housing Programme.

Videos by Tim Andrews.

Thinking about a mortgage? Sign up for our lending surgery

Representatives from four organisations which lend to community-led housing will be in Brighton to give groups advice.

Many community-led housing groups will need to apply for a mortgage, in order to finance their project. There are several lenders who specialise in this area and we are offering groups in Brighton & Hove the chance to speak to them and ask questions.

Both sessions run from 3.00pm until 6.00pm and you will need to contact to sign your group up for a slot during that time. Surgeries are available on a first come, first served basis so sign up quick!

These are the lender representatives who will be available:
Monday 5 March: Jon Lee, Ecology Building Society and Carolyn Sims, Charity Bank
Monday 19 March: Mark Ogden, Triodos and Sonya Powe, Unity Trust bank

Both sessions will take place at Brighton Junction, Isetta Square, 35 New England Street, BN1 4GQ

Brighton & Hove is ready for more community-led housing

Over 200 people filled the Brighthelm Centre on Wednesday 21 February for the launch of our Community-Led Housing Programme.

With support from Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC), Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is supporting local people who want to start their own community-led housing projects, including co-operatives, cohousing and self-build.

We want more truly affordable and stable housing in the city, with more people gaining control over their housing situation. The enthusiasm at Wednesday’s event showed that we’re not alone.

Stephen Hill

Stephen Hill, Director at C2O futureplanners, gave a useful overview of the national picture for community-led housing, including examples of exciting projects such as LILAC, a cohousing community of 20 eco houses in Leeds and OWCH, a group of women over 50 who have created their own community in a purpose-built block of flats in North London.

Stephen introduced the idea of ‘market disrupters’. ‘Communities are spending huge amounts of their time trying to put together housing projects that nobody else will,’ he said. ‘The fact that people like you are here today is some kind of witness to the fact that policy and the market has failed so many people.’

For him, part of the excitement around community-led housing is that the unexpected always happens. ‘Every project has a little bit of magic in it,’ he said. ‘You give people the opportunity to do something amazing and all sorts of bits of creativity and innovation come to the fore – things that you can never possibly imagine would happen.’

Anne Meadows

Councillor Anne Meadows, Chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee and a Labour & Co-operative representative for Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, paid tribute to what the city has already achieved: ‘In some respects I feel it’s national thinking that has caught up with Brighton & Hove,’ she said. ‘We have had an innovative and active community-led housing sector for many, many years.’

In recent years, Martyn Holmes of Bunker Self-Build Housing Co-op has been one of the people behind that innovation. He told the story of Bunker’s beginnings – two neighbours chatting over the garden fence, both living in private rented housing that they were struggling to afford and fed up with their housing situation. Along with their families, they are soon to start work on two modular houses in Brighton, making use of a small and difficult site that a big developer wouldn’t be attracted to.

Martyn Holmes

For Bunker, part of the reason for choosing a self-build project was the money they would save. Martyn explained that group self-build schemes can result in cost savings of up to 40% or more. ‘It is hard, but it is worth doing,’ he said and urged others not to give up, particularly as the Community-Led Housing Programme could help reduce some of the barriers that Bunker experienced early on.

Housing groups get to know each other

Stephen also emphasised that the rewards will come eventually. ‘You shouldn’t underestimate the difficulties,’ he said. ‘If you’re going to do this it will take over your life… but I’ve never met anybody who regretted it.’

Community-led housing is not just about building homes from scratch, as our Programme Manager, Andrea Jones, explained. ‘The problem with housing in this country is not just about supply and numbers of houses, it’s about the unequal distribution of it,’ she said.

Andrea explained that people are beginning to think about housing differently, going against the instinct that people should follow the trajectory of buying their own place, or renting somewhere with boundaries from others. ‘If we can open the debate up about how it’s possible to live and how it’s possible to live well then we can release some of the housing stock that isn’t used well or imaginatively,’ said Andrea.

Throughout 2018 we will be working to raise awareness about the potential of community-led housing for Brighton & Hove, as well as holding more events and practical workshops for groups at all stages of the journey.

Do you want to keep up to date with our news and events? Sign up to the BHCLT mailing list here.

Find out more about the Community-Led Housing Programme here.

A video from the launch will be published on our website over the coming weeks.

Photos: Tim Andrews and others.

The big launch: What to expect on the day

With less than one week until the launch of the Brighton and Hove Community-Led Housing Programme, we wanted to update you on the plans for the event.

The event will take place on Wednesday 21 February, 5.30-9.00pm (Registration from 5:15pm) in the Auditorium, Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1YD. Food will be provided at the start of the event.

The launch is currently fully booked but you can add yourself to the waiting list here at Eventbrite

5.30-6.00pm Food There will also be the opportunity to meet others interested in community-led housing.
6.00-7.00pm Introduction Andrea Jones, Brighton & Hove Community-Led Housing programme.
Who, what, where, why and how? A brief introduction to Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) and its work on community-led housing.

Councillor Anne Meadows, Chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee, Labour & Co-operative Councillor for Moulsecoomb and Bevendean

Stephen Hill, Director – C2O futureplanners
The national picture for community-led housing and what is possible.

Stephen Hill is a key player in the development of Community-led Housing in the UK. He has worked over many years to create opportunities for social investment in cities and positive urban change and renewal. Through his research and his work with C20 Future Planners, The UK Cohousing Network and the National Community Land Trust network he has championed the cause creating opportunities for lower income households to get access to secure affordable housing in well-designed neighbourhoods. He has developed programmes for the training of local people and professionals to be ‘barefoot urban designers’ in large scale neighbourhood renewal programmes. He writes a regular blog at:

Martyn Holmes, Bunker Self-Build Housing Co-op
A local success story: A new self-build housing co-operative for low income families in Brighton & Hove.

Martyn is a founding member of Bunker Housing Co-operative, a Representative for CHIBAH (Co-operative Housing in Brighton & Hove) and helped to shape the Brighton and Hove Community-led Housing Programme. He first got involved with community-led housing as a solution to his own families housing needs and quickly became involved regionally and nationally. In 2017 he completed a MRes (masters) in Architecture at UEL focussing on the housing crisis and alternative solutions to it, has been working for three years on a self-build pilot scheme with the Estate Regeneration Team at Brighton and Hove City Council to self-build two three bedroomed family homes on a BHCC-owned disused garage site, which is about to start on site this Spring! He will be starting a PhD at University of East London in October 2018 on Building capacity within the community-led housing sector.

There will be an opportunity to ask questions of both Stephen and Martyn.

7.10-8.00pm Share your journey Wherever you are in your journey into Community-led Housing, join this session to ‘speed chat’ to people in other housing groups. Connect with others setting up community-led housing projects across the city and share your experiences. You may even find people to join forces with!
8.10-8.20pm What’s next? The Brighton & Hove Community-Led Housing Programme team will share their ideas of how to move forward.
8.20pm-9.00pm Time to chat Ask those last burning questions or meet other people interested in community-led housing

Find out more about the Community-Led Housing Programme, and what support is available here at our website.

Financial planning for community-led housing projects: Free workshop

Are you setting up a community-led housing project in Brighton & Hove? Do you need some help making the finances work?

We are holding a free financial planning workshop in Brighton on Saturday 24 February 11am-3pm. It will include an introduction to financial planning for community-led housing from Nathan Brown of Co-op Culture, experienced supporters of co-operative, community and social enterprise. Nathan will cover which tools to use, financial viability and different formats for financial plans, as well as answering questions.

The second part of the workshop will be an opportunity to work on your project’s financial plan with other members of your group. We will have local experts on hand to help, including someone who has set up their own community-led housing project and our land and property expert Nicola Thomas.

There are limited places for this workshop and it’s only open to groups who have a project outlined and are ready to sort out their finances. If you are interested in registering, please email to make sure it is the right thing for you.

There is more planned

We have more practical workshops planned, including a surgery with representatives of banks who lend to community-led housing projects.

Please let us know if you would like to be put on our mailing list and receive regular updates from BHCLT, including news on community-led housing and future workshops.

This workshop is part of the Brighton & Hove Community-Led Housing Programme, supported by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). Find out more here, including how to apply for financial support.

Green architecture. How much does size matter?

Andrea Jones, from the Community-Led Housing Programme team, will be talking at this year’s Green Architecture Day on Saturday 10 March in Brighton.

Andrea will be talking about the new and exciting opportunities opening up for local groups to create their own affordable housing solutions in the city.

The theme of this year’s event, which is organised by Brighton Permaculture Trust and Low Carbon Trust, is ‘Sustainability at Scale: Size Matters’. A range of leading experts will be asked there is any use in our current climate of being a tiny beacon of sustainability, or should we be focusing on larger developments.

How this can be possible and where the architectural and design community is heading? How does this translate to a city like Brighton & Hove and what is being done here at home?

There will be a facilitated plenary panel at the end of the day where there will be the chance to ask questions in person, or by ballot. As well as a range of talks there will be stalls and stands and a complimentary light lunch.

Green Architecture Day takes place on Saturday 10 March, 10:30am to 5pm at the Sallis Benney Theatre, University of Brighton, Grand Parade Building, BN2 0JY.

Find out more at the Brighton Permaculture Trust website.

Want to know what we’re up to? Join us to launch the Community-Led Housing Programme

Find out more about how we can work together to create more affordable and community-led housing in Brighton and Hove.

Join us at the Brighthelm Centre on Wednesday 21 February for the launch of the Brighton and Hove Community-Led Housing Programme, supported by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC).

Reserve your place here at Eventbrite

Community-led housing is a way to create more genuinely affordable and secure homes, allowing local people to create alternatives that are community focused and take power back from the hands of developers, letting agencies and a housing market that many feel is out of control.

At the FREE launch event there will be the opportunity to:

  • Find out more about what community-led housing is and why it could be a good option for you.
  • Hear about exciting examples of community-led housing right here in Brighton and Hove.
  • Meet other people who want to start their own housing projects.
  • Find out more about Housing Ourselves: grants of £1,000 up to £50,000 available to housing groups.
  • Learn about how the Programme can connect you with experts, or how your expertise could be useful to a community-led housing group.
  • Ask us questions, including advice on Housing Ourselves grant applications.
  • Let us know what ideas you have for community-led housing in Brighton and Hove and what support you need to make them happen.

The event will take place on Wednesday 21 February, 5.30-9.00pm (Registration from 5:15pm) in the Auditorium, Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1YD. Food will be provided at the start of the event.

Reserve your place here at Eventbrite

Find out more about the Community-Led Housing Programme, and what support is available here at our website.

Financial support available for housing groups

As part of our work to more community-led housing to the city, we now have Housing Ourselves financial support available to groups working to get new projects off the ground.

Housing Ourselves grants and support is supported by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) through the Community Housing Fund. The aim is to help local groups to develop their own community-led housing solutions. Grants are available from £1,000 up to £50,000, depending on how far your housing group has progressed (more details below and in the full guidelines for applicants). Community-led housing options which are supported include Community Land Trusts, housing co-operatives, cohousing communities and community self-build.

Grants and support is available to community-led housing groups at any stage of their journey, especially pre-construction or pre-purchase stages of housing projects. and are designed to help people:

  • Overcome the obstacles they currently face in getting their project off the ground.
  • Gain access to additional funds from other sources to buy, convert or build appropriate properties.
  • Develop their ideas into housing solutions which benefit themselves and others.

The Housing Ourselves programme can also offer free expert support to make community-led housing a reality – not just money. We aim to help groups to, for example, develop their group and their business case, find suitable land or property, and get them ready to secure a mortgage in order to fund the next phase of their project.

The programme can also offer support for free e.g. providing someone with particular expertise to help groups develop their plans; and help to match groups and available land or property.

How to Apply?

To apply for Housing Ourselves support, we ask that groups express an interest by emailing or telephoning the Operations Manager on 07526 688926.

We ask all groups to go through a pre-application stage which includes meeting with an enabler from the Programme to discuss their plans. Please find the full guidelines for applicants here.

Read more about Housing Ourselves and the application criteria here