Training centre for self-build homes in Ladywell

Ted, a trustee of self-build group RUSS, writes:

A crowd funding initiative has been launched to help raise £57,000 to build London’s first training facility for would-be community self-builders. The innovative building will be constructed in Ladywell, Lewisham on part of the land set aside for a new 33 home affordable self-build housing project.

The project is being driven by RUSS, the Community Land Trust that has been set up to deliver the new homes. The project involves:

  • Designing and building a single-storey structure on the site in Church Grove, Ladywell. The building will be used during the main construction phase of the new homes – from 2018 onwards
  • The structure will host a series of workshops and build-days where anyone can come and learn about the construction of the new homes 
  • The building will also be available to local people as a community space 
  • RUSS will also run a programme of events and workshops with other community partners on the theme of self-building and community-led housing

RUSS chair Kareem Dayes said: “Lewisham has a history of self-building. In 1985 a group of council tenants with no previous building experience built their own homes on land provided by Lewisham Council. They were led by architect Water Segal who developed a simple and cost-effective building design that anyone could self-build.”

Megan Ancliffe is one of the team that has developed the early designs for the training facility. She said: “The project would offer people the opportunity to get hands-on experience of building. The structure will showcase different natural building techniques such as timber, straw bale and rammed earth”.

“Once built, the space would host RUSS’s School of Community-Led Housing with the goal of becoming a knowledge hub to share and inspire other communities in self-building and affordable housing projects”.

“We intend to source materials locally so that we support the local economy. We also aim to use as many reclaimed and recycled materials as we can and we’re interested in experimenting with off-grid technologies such as rain water collection.”

The building is estimated to cost £57,000. If enough people sign up to support it by the 10th of July, the Mayor of London’s initiative, Crowdfund London, is likely to provide top up funding to meet this target.

Anyone who wants to support the initiative can find out more here.

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