RUSS’ previous directors sat on the organisation’s board for the period 2014–15, when we made the crucial step of securing ‘preferred bidder’ status from the London Borough of Lewisham for the Church Grove site.

Raquel Ajates Gonzalez

“Since I first encountered self-build Segal houses in Honor Oak nearly a decade ago, my admiration for these visionary projects has nothing but grown, both for the empowering processes of their creation and the great living and surrounding spaces they generated. I have a MSc in Food Policy and I am currently undertaking a PhD at City University London studying cooperative and sustainable food and farming initiatives; my research has made me aware of the urgent need to enable a transition to more sustainable lifestyles in cities, from reducing energy consumption to re-thinking food provision. I have got involved in RUSS with the aim to start this transition in Lewisham through the facilitation of successful sustainable and affordable self-build projects that can be replicated across London and beyond.”

Paul Capel

I live in Walters Way – although I’m not one of the original self builders, I was drawn to live there by the combination of sustainability – as an advocate of Cradle to Cradle living – and the particular kind of community that thrives there. I have an MSc in Sustainable Architecture and my home is one of the best insulated in the country. My aim as a director of RUSS is to inspire the members to build future facing developments using my knowledge of Cradle to Cradle principles and my network as Co-founder of Cradle to Cradle Marketplace. 

Barbara Hicks

“In 1983 me and my family were given the opportunity to build our own home in Walters Way, Honor Oak Park. We were able to move out of an overcrowded flat in cross fields estate in Deptford and build our dream family home. I was a teacher in Fairlawn Primary school for over 30 years and recently retired. I have been teaching YOGA to people in Lewisham for over 40 years also and have gotten to know many people in the area. I have got involved with RUSS to help the next generation have the same opportunities I had.”

Kareem Dayes

“I was fortunate enough to grow up in Walters Way and helped my dad to renovate our home to be energy self-sufficient. This experience coupled with living in Sanford Housing Co-op for 3 years has inspired me to help create a new community-led housing scheme. I have lived in Lewisham all my life and aspire to building another housing project our community can be proud of.”