Category Archives: News

Bunker Housing Co-op starts work on its first houses

An affordable, secure home is something that can seem out of reach for too low income many families in Brighton & Hove. But Bunker Housing Co-operative is making that dream a reality as it starts building its first two houses, in East Brighton. Bunker celebrated on Saturday 8 December, alongside its investors and supporters and members of Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT).

Bunker members are self-building their houses, with the help of architects, and other construction professionals. They are using a modular system and a CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) super structure. Run as a co-operative, the rent will be just £1,000 a month, per three bedroomed family home. The co-operative will own the houses, which will be on a site leased from Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). Any residents will be members of the co-op and both landlords and tenants.

Watch this short video for more on the Bunker story

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Community-led development in the Heart of Hastings

Just along the coast, Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust are doing exciting things in community-led housing and land development. Some of the BHCLT staff team and Directors visited the CLT on Wednesday 28 November to have a look at what they’re up to and share our experiences with each other.

In the foyer of Rock House

As a coastal community, Hastings has some similarities to Brighton & Hove but it’s on the brink of a wave of gentrification that we have already experienced and is about to become somewhere where house prices outstrip wages.

We met Jess, Shelley, Sam, and James from the Heart of Hastings team at Rock House, a building which James told us is the centre of a ‘co-operative ecosystem’. Rock House is in the White Rock area of Hastings – where much of Heart of Hastings’ work is focused. It is one of the town’s poorest neighbourhoods but is changing rapidly.

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Bunker is on site! Time to celebrate

We are so excited that one of the housing co-operatives we have been working with as part of the Community-Led Housing Programme has started work on its first two houses. We will be celebrating on Saturday 8 December, 2.00pm at The Edge Community Centre in Brighton. Sign up at Eventbrite to join us.

Bunker Housing Co-op is a self-build co-operative, building affordable and environmentally friendly homes for low income families and individuals. Their first site is on Plumpton Road in the Queen’s Park area of Brighton. They are due to be able to move in by summer 2019 with a rent of just £1,000 a month, per three bedroomed family home.

With the help of architects, and other construction professionals, Bunker are using a modular system and a CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) super structure. They have leased their first site, on Plumpton Road, from Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC). The project is set to be a great example of what is possible with self-build community-led housing.

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Christmas social with Co-operative Housing in Brighton and Hove (CHIBAH)

This year we will be joining forces with Co-operative Housing in Brighton and Hove (CHIBAH) for our Christmas social.

It will take place on Wednesday 12 December, from 8.00pm after the weekly group skills workshop, at the Lord Nelson pub, 36 Trafalgar Street, Brighton, BN1 4ED. Come along and celebrate all we have achieved this year!

There’ll be a drink and a bite to eat for everyone, and not a post-it note in sight!

Please book your place here at Eventbrite so we know how much food to provide.

Accessibility

The pub has a small step in the entrance – they have told us they don’t usually have a problem with wheelchairs getting in.

The pub is close to Brighton train station, where many buses also stop.

The closest parking is Trafalgar Street Car Park.

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Seeing is believing with Cornwall CLT

On 17 October, Amy Hall from the BHCLT team went to a National CLT Network See it and Believe it event in Duloe, Cornwall, including a tour of houses under development nearby.

Established in 2006, Cornwall Community Land Trust is now one of the biggest in the country. It develops its own housing as well as supporting and advising the many other smaller CLTs across the county. Between 20007 and 2018 Cornwall CLT has built, supported or enabled 236 homes.

We heard from Director of Cornwall CLT, Andrew George that CLTs are trying to address specific local need in a particular way. He said a hard headed, pragmatic approach was needed as, “you can’t knit houses out of hope.”

George explained that in Cornwall there are more than 20,000 families on the housing register and many others who never put their names down because they know they will never get anything through the council. People need to be on the register to rent through Cornwall CLT so they have actively encouraged people to join.

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Weekly community-led housing group skills workshops until 12 December 2018

Are you involved in creating a housing community? Want to create a strong group? Want to build a community that is nourishing and practical, enabling and effective?

There are ways to enjoy finding the answers to these questions! BHCLT member Marcela López Levy, is running FREE weekly drop-in workshops on group skills, once a month combining with a BHCLT social. The dates of the socials are the 21 November and 12 December. This is a good opportunity to learn and practice community-building and project management skills in a supportive environment. Bring your experience and your questions.

Workshops will run every Wednesday, 6.30pm-8.00pm, until 12 December. They will take place in The Lord Nelson pub.

For more details contact groupwork@playen.net.

The workshops are free, but we require participants to become BHCLT members (fee £1). Join here: bhclt.org.uk/membership

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Could community-led housing tackle London’s housing crisis?

Amy Hall from the BHCLT team was in London on Wednesday 19 September for an event on community-led housing in the capital, hosted by Impact Hub Islington.

The housing system in the UK is broken and community-led housing could provide part of the solution. This was the starting point for the ‘How could we make community-led cohousing the next big thing in London?’ event, outlined by facilitator Joost Beunderman, Director of Impact Hub Islington.

“Pumping more money into a broken system is not going to get us the change we really need,” he pointed out.

Alex Whitcroft, a Director at KIN, was the main speaker for the evening. KIN are architects, ethical developers, and community enablers for sustainable and community-led housing. He is also a co-founder of community housing group Cohousing London seeking to build inclusive affordable homes across London.

Alex highlighted, as well as there being a massive housing shortage, the built environment has a big impact on the environment. “We are a big part of the problem that the world is facing,” he said.

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How to raise money through loanstock

Loanstock is a great way for people to invest in grassroots co-operative projects and for community-led housing projects to raise money using repayable loans from individuals or other organisations. Join Martyn Holmes, co-founder of Bunker Housing Co-operative on Saturday 10 November to find out more about how.

Bunker Housing Co-operative has raised over £75,000 through loanstock and are about to start work on their first two houses. Hear from Martyn about how they did it and his tips for people wanting to do the same.

The second part of the workshop will involve local housing groups discussing and sharing ideas on raising loanstock, including how to work together.

This free workshop will take place on Saturday 10 November, 1.15-5.00pm in the community room of The Bevy Pub, 50 Hillside, Brighton, BN2 4TF.

Please make sure you book your place in advance here at Eventbrite as there are limited places. The workshop is free, but we require participants to become BHCLT members (fee £1). Join here: bhclt.org.uk/membership

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Group skills workshop: How to attract and keep members

Are you involved in creating a housing community? Want to create a strong group? Want to build a community that is nourishing and practical, enabling and effective?

There are ways to enjoy finding the answers to these questions! BHCLT member Marcela López Levy, has offered to run weekly drop-in workshops on group skills, combining with a BHCLT social once a month. This is a good opportunity to learn and practice community-building and project management skills in a supportive environment. Bring your experience and your questions.

These workshops are taking place every Wednesday until 12 December, 6.30-8.00pm at the Lord Nelson pub, 36 Trafalgar Street, Brighton, BN1 4ED.

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Get ready for investment: Free workshop with Ethex

Looking for investors for your community-led housing project? In this workshop on Thursday 18 October we will be introducing you to Ethex, which supports organisations such as charities, businesses and co-ops in the social purpose housing sector by supporting them to be ready for outside investment and raise the money they need.

The Ethex investment platform helps individuals to make investments into businesses with a social or ethical purpose, and they have helped raise nearly £65 million in the last five years for their clients. They have 13,000 engaged investors who are looking to invest in enterprises and have identified housing as an area that they are particularly keen to support.

At this free workshop on Thursday 18 October from 4.15pm until 6.00pm at The Edge Community Centre, 83 Pankhurst Avenue, Brighton, BN2 9AE. Jo Simpson (Consultant at Eastside Primetimers) and Tom Carman (Ethex) will be covering a range of issues related to raising social investment/social finance, including explaining how their platform works, who the social investors are and what they are looking for. Sign up and get ‘investment ready’!

Please make sure you book your place in advance here at Eventbrite. The workshop is free, but we require participants to become BHCLT members (fee £1). Join here: bhclt.org.uk/membership Continue reading

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Community Housing Fund open for capital funding bids

Phase Two of the Community Housing Fund is now open to eligible organisations and groups to bid for capital grants to fund the costs of acquiring land and building community-led housing schemes. The £163 million fund is available for community-led groups who want to realise their affordable housing ambitions across England up to 31 March 2020.

This funding is best for groups who are in the later stages of planning and ready to purchase land or housing.

Phase One of the fund launched in July 2018 and supports applications for capacity building and pre-development revenue funding. The format to apply to Phase Two is almost the same as for Phase One.

Organisations which intend to be the landlord of low-cost rental properties funded by Phase Two of the Community Housing Fund must be – or intend to become – registered as a provider of social housing (a ‘registered provider’) with the Social Housing Regulator.

Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust is part of ongoing conversations across the city about who is best placed to be a registered provider and the most efficient and effective way to make sure we bring as much funding for community-led housing into the city as possible. We are also waiting for guidance from Homes England on this issue and others related to the Fund.

Sign up to our mailing list or watch this space for updates.

Find out more about the Community Housing Fund, including relevant documents and application guidance

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Community-led housing journeys: Three groups tell their story

Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is working with around 17 new community-led housing groups as part of our Community-Led Housing Programme.

We spoke to people from three of these groups: Selby Housing Co-operative, SEASALT (South East Students Autonomously Living Together) and Lilliput Housing Co-operative about their experiences so far and the highs and lows of their journey.

Community-led housing allows local people to take control of their housing and create alternatives to the limited choices offered by the current housing market. Approaches include self-build, cohousing and housing co-operatives, all developed and run by local people working together.

Thanks to Tim Andrews Images who filmed and edited the video, as well as all the people from housing groups who took part.

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