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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for editors
- 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/
- 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.
- 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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