Tag Archives: co-operatives

How to set up a housing co-op? – 17th May

Helen Bartlett from Rosa Bridge housing co-op will be talking about how to set up a housing co-op on Thursday 17th May from 6:30PM in the Hanover room in the Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD. (map here)

Housing co-operatives are one of many ways to create more genuinely affordable and secure housing in the city. There will be time for both a brief introduction to housing co-ops as well as more in-depth advice on how to set them up, based on the experiences of Rosa Bridge. Space will be given for questions and networking.

We have limited places available. Please email admin@bhclt.org.uk as soon as possible to find out more and sign up.

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

More info on Rosa Bridge

Rosa Bridge is a small, queer, feminist co-op of five members, set up in 2014 with the help of a grant from the DCLG’s Empty Homes Programme. It is part of an old dairy in the Tarner area of Brighton.

Rosa Bridge aimed to take housing, especially in the city centre, away from private ownership and to be part of creating different alternatives to notions of ‘home’.

What is a housing co-op?

A brief introduction video to what is a housing co-op is below (focused on student housing co-ops, but relevant to all housing co-ops). Housing co-ops don’t have to be for students – there are several which already exist in Brighton & Hove for people of all ages, including Rosa Bridge housing co-op.

Please also see our community-led housing groups guide for more information on housing co-ops

 

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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.

Continue reading

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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 admin@bhclt.org.uk 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

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Brighton & Hove shows it’s ready for more community-led housing

Brighton’s Brighthelm Centre was filled with around 200 people on Wednesday 21 February for the launch of the Brighton & Hove 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.

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. The new Brighton & Hove Community-Led Housing Programme supports groups of people to come together and organise, or build, their own affordable homes. Applications are open for financial support and free advice to help make people’s ideas a reality.

BHCLT Community-led Housing Programme includes:

  • Housing Ourselves: Financial support through loans or grants to housing groups.
  • Discovering suitable land and properties and helping groups acquire them for housing projects.
  • Connecting local people who want to start their own housing projects and providing them with expertise and support.
  • Raising awareness and building knowledge about housing with local people, the council and others who work in housing.

The event included the opportunity for people involved in community-led housing groups to share their experiences and learn from each other.

Speaking at the event, Councillor Anne Meadows, Chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee and a Labour & Co-operative representative for Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, paid tribute to city’s history of community-led housing: ‘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 and the provision of this funding through the DCLG has brought about the creation of this programme, through which we hope that more of the aspirations of this sector can be realised and more housing provided.’

Also speaking at the event was Stephen Hill, Director at C2O futureplanners and a key player in community-led housing nationally. ‘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.’

The audience also hear directly from someone involved in a local success story, Martyn Holmes of Bunker Self-Build Housing Co-op. 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.

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.

Community-led housing is good for Brighton & Hove because:

  • It provides additional affordable and stable housing to those in need.
  • It creates and demonstrates alternative ways of living which have a positive impact on wellbeing.
  • It helps local people develop new skills as they make their projects a reality.
  • It encourages collaboration and co-operative between local people and involves them in decisions about new housing.
  • People have more say in how their homes are developed and managed.
  • It creates an opportunity to make use of empty buildings and vacant land, revitalising communities.

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

For more information contact Amy Hall and Ed Jones, Communications Officers with BHCLT on comms@bhclt.org.uk

Notes for editors

  1. Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is a non-profit community-led organisation working to put housing development back in the hands of people who need it. It is one of over 225 Community Land Trusts (CLTs) in England and Wales. Find out more at: https://bhclt.org.uk/
  2. A national Community Housing Fund of £60 million has been shared between almost 150 councils to help tackle the problem of high levels of second home ownership in their communities. Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) was allocated £464,500 and the fund was in turn, awarded to BHCLT, which is acting as the lead partner in this programme of work, alongside CHIBAH and MAIS.
  3. Community Land Trusts have developed over 700 permanently affordable units and will have developed a further 3,000 by 2020. Find out more at the National CLT Network website: http://www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk/
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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.

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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: Stephenhillfutureplanning.blogspot.co.uk

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.

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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 admin@bhclt.org.uk 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.

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