South London community group receive £1 million from Mayor of London to help it deliver affordable homes


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has awarded a south London community group almost £1 million to help it deliver social rented and other genuinely affordable homes for local residents and workers.

The Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS) – a Lewisham-based Community Land Trust – has received £988,000 from the Mayor’s Innovation Fund to build 33 homes on Church Grove in Ladywell. The site was gifted to RUSS by Lewisham Council in 2016. Five of the homes will be allocated by Lewisham Council whilst RUSS will retain at least 20 per cent equity in the remaining 28 properties, ensuring they cannot be sold on the open market and will only ever be transferred on to members on the RUSS waiting list.

The homes on Church Grove, ranging from one-bedroom flats to four-bedroom homes and tailored to the occupants’ needs, will be partly self-built by residents, RUSS members, apprentices and volunteers from the wider community in order to reduce construction costs, with training in construction skills provided as part of the grant.

Through this approach, residents will be given a say in how their homes are designed, creating a development that reflects the needs and diverse backgrounds of the people who live there. Sadiq has set a new target to identify a pipeline of community-led housing schemes by 2021, with capacity to deliver at least 1,000 homes.