Tag Archives: Sussex Cohousing

Learn more about Sociocracy: Free workshop

Sociocracy is a governance system that aims to balance inclusiveness with effectiveness. It is popular with housing communities in the US and elsewhere. Due to popular demand from local community-led housing groups we are running a free workshop to find out more on Saturday 29 September in Brighton.

How groups organise and work together significantly impacts on what they can achieve. Sociocracy is structured somewhere between regular hierarchies that we’re likely all used to, and ‘flat’ consensus-based formats that others may have experienced. It helps to reap the benefits of both formats – namely efficiency as well as equality.

Linked teams of people (circles) work semi-autonomously to understand the issues they have to deal with and create policies together, using inclusive techniques such as rounds and consent to make decisions efficiently. Continue reading

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Government launches Community Housing Fund

Described as, “the best opportunity to develop the co-operative and community-led housing sector since the 1980s,” by the Confederation of Co-operative Housing, the Government has launched a new multimillion Community Housing Fund.

The Fund will be managed by Homes England and will come in two phases: phase one will help groups to cover costs during the planning stages and capital will be available for more established projects to pay for infrastructure, such as new roads; and the second phase will be capital grants to pay for the construction costs for new homes.

Through the previous round of the Fund, supported by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC), BHCLT has supported 17 new community-led housing groups over the past eight months. These include:

  • Bunker Housing Co-op: A self-build group due to start building their first two homes this month. Each three-bedroom house is approximately 100 sq meters and due to cost around £175,000 each to build. They will then be rented to members of the co-operative for £800 a month per home. Bunker was started by two families who, like many of Brighton’s residents, had no access to either home ownership nor social housing. Their choices were limited to private renting and they lived in damp, insecure and unaffordable accommodation while they faced the growing possibility

    Lilliput are at the early stages of their journey

    of being priced out of the city altogether. Together they created Bunker with the aim of enabling low-income, self-employed people like themselves to take back control of their housing situation and to build their own beautifully designed, secure and permanently affordable housing.

  • Sussex Cohousing: This group aims to develop a cohousing project in or near Brighton. Their vision is a community of 15-35 households (each with their own front door), collaboratively managed by the residents and working on a mixed tenure model, including renting and ownership. They are currently exploring different sites in the local area, on which they will be able to build.
  • Lilliput housing co-operative who are planning a neighbourhood of nine small, low cost

    Members of S.E.A.S.A.L.T Housing Co-operative

    homes for those most in need of secure, genuinely affordable housing in Brighton & Hove. It would run as a co-operative with its members as both tenant and landlord. They have been making great progress on the project over the past few months and are in the process of obtaining land and finances.

  • S.E.A.S.A.L.T Housing Co-operative (South East Students Autonomously Living Together). Set up by a group of Sussex University students to create affordable, high quality, fit for purpose housing specifically to meet the needs of students.

BHCLT is hoping that this recent round of the Community Housing Fund can help make more projects like these a reality in Brighton & Hove.

Fancy starting your own community-led housing project? Get in touch on admin[at]bhclt.org.uk or find out more here.

More information on the Community Housing Fund can be found here

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Golden opportunity for the development of affordable housing as Government opens multimillion fund

Wednesday 4 July 2018

“Now is the time for communities wanting to work together to build more permanently affordable housing in their local area,” says Brighton & Hove Community-Land Trust (BHCLT) in response to new multimillion Government fund.

The Community Housing Fund will provide local people with the financial backing to make their community-led housing projects a reality. Community-led housing approaches include Community Land Trusts (CLTs), self-build, cohousing and housing co-ops, all developed and run by local people working together. These projects bring more affordable housing to the city.

Community-led housing is not new to Brighton & Hove, which is home to around 20 housing co-operatives. Older examples include self-build projects Diggers (1998) and Hedgehog (2000), as well as Two Piers Housing Co-operative (1978), a registered provider which houses around 70 people across Brighton & Hove.

Through the previous round of the Community Housing Fund, supported by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC), BHCLT has supported 17 new community-led housing groups over the past eight months. These include:

  • Bunker Housing Co-op: A self-build group due to start building their first two homes this month. Each three-bedroom house is approximately 100 sq meters and due to cost around £175,000 each to build. They will then be rented to members of the co-operative for £800 a month per home.

Bunker is a fully mutual housing co-operative and has been working on developing a model that can be rolled out over several “infill” sites across the city. They are building using an off site modular system of CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) panels to form the super insulated structure and the project is set to be a great example of what affordable, self-build community-led housing can be.

Bunker was started by two families, who met through their children. Like many of Brighton’s residents with no access to either home ownership nor social housing, their choices were limited to private renting and they lived in damp, insecure and unaffordable accommodation while they faced the growing possibility of being priced out of the city altogether.

Together they created Bunker with the aim of enabling low-income, self-employed people like themselves to take back control of their housing situation and to build their own beautifully designed, secure and permanently affordable housing.

  • Sussex Cohousing is another group working with BHCLT and aiming to develop a cohousing project in or near Brighton. Their vision is a community of 15-35 households (each with their own front door), collaboratively managed by the residents and working on a mixed tenure model, including renting and ownership. They are currently exploring different sites in the local area, on which they will be able to build.
  • Lilliput housing co-operative are planning a neighbourhood of nine small, low cost homes for those most in need of secure, genuinely affordable housing in Brighton & Hove. It would run as a co-operative with its members as both tenant and landlord. They have been making great progress on the project over the past few months and are in the process of obtaining land and finances.

Other projects include a student housing co-operative called SEASALT, a cohousing project for women over 50 years old, a project incorporating adults with learning disabilities and a group setting up a housing project for people with mental health issues.

BHCLT is hoping that this recent round of the Community Housing Fund can help make more projects like these a reality in Brighton & Hove. The Fund will be managed by Homes England and will come in two phases: phase one will help groups to cover costs during the planning stages and capital will be available for more established projects to pay for infrastructure, such as new roads; and the second phase will be capital grants to pay for the construction costs for new homes. More information on the fund can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/collections/community-housing-fund

Peter Clarke, BHCLT Director said: “We’ve been waiting for this news for a while, so we’re excited to see the Government making a commitment to support people wanting to lead their own affordable housing projects.

“We are hoping this Fund will be a boost to community-led housing in Brighton & Hove, a city where we desperately need more affordable housing.”

Tom Chance, Director at the National CLT Network said: “This is the biggest investment the community led housing sector has seen in the last 30 years. I’m delighted that Government has recognised the role communities can play in delivering much-needed affordable housing. When it comes to our vision of community led housing becoming a mainstream housing option, this is a significant boost.”

People who would like support to start their own community-led housing project should contact Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) on admin[at]bhclt.org.uk or find out more at: https://bhclt.org.uk/

End –

For more information, including to arrange an interview with someone from BHCLT or a local community-led housing group, contact Amy Hall, Communications Officer with BHCLT on comms[at]bhclt.org.uk

Notes to 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. Find out more at: https://bhclt.org.uk/
  2. The full prospectus for the Community Housing Fund can be found here: gov.uk/government/publications/community-housing-fund-prospectus
  3. Community-led housing is a broad movement where people are involved in meeting their own housing wants and needs. Approaches include Community Land Trusts (CLTs), self-build, cohousing, and co-operative housing.
  4. BHCLT has been leading the Brighton & Hove Community-Led Housing Programme in partnership with Co-operative Housing in Brighton & Hove (CHIBAH) and Mutual Aid in Sussex (MAIS).
  5. The National CLT Network is the Charity for Community Land Trusts (CLTs) in England and Wales and supports and promotes the work of CLTs, representing 240 CLTs in England and Wales. CLTs are local organisations set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes that are genuinely affordable for now and in perpetuity. CLTs have developed over 820 homes, with more than 5,000 in the pipeline up to 2021. More information can be found at: communitylandtrusts.org.uk
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Introduction to Sociocracy for community-led housing – video

On 5th May 2018, Julian Howell and Richard Taylor (both members of Sussex Cohousing), gave an introduction to sociocracy for community-led housing. Watch the full workshop below:


(if the video above appears blurry when watching, click Settings and then Quality in the youtube player and select the highest quality your internet connection can handle) Continue reading

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How are you governed? Find out more about Sociocracy

Sociocracy is a governance system that aims to balance inclusiveness with effectiveness. It is popular with housing communities in the US and elsewhere. Interested in finding out more? Join our workshop on Saturday 5 May.

How groups organise and work together significantly impacts on what they can achieve. Sociocracy is structured somewhere between regular hierarchies that we’re likely all used to, and ‘flat’ consensus-based formats that others may have experienced. It helps to reap the benefits of both formats – namely efficiency as well as equality.

Linked teams of people (circles) work semi-autonomously to understand the issues they have to deal with and create policies together, using inclusive techniques such as rounds and consent to make decisions efficiently.

Sussex Cohousing uses Sociocracy as it’s method of governance, decision making and general working together. This is because they believe it is organised, inclusive and has ongoing learning from experience built in. This workshop will offer an introduction to the system and practices as well as showing something of how Sussex Cohousing work together. This could be useful for other community-led groups, or in any area of life where you’re working with others.

Two members of Sussex Cohousing will give an overview and a chance to try one or two methods.

The workshop takes place on Saturday 5 May, 10.00am -1.00pm. 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

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