RUSS’s Trustees set the overall strategic direction for the organisation. They monitor performance against the business plan and ensure the organisation’s resources and finances are being correctly managed. The Trustees also provide leadership, guidance, financial governance and ensure that RUSS fulfils its charitable duties. The Trustees include several of the founders of RUSS and some of the residents that are expected to move into the first project in Lewisham. Collectively the Board has significant experience of business, social housing, community engagement, construction processes, self-build, financial management and fundraising.
Kareem is the founder of RUSS. He was inspired to establish the organisation after growing up in a house his parents built as part of a council-supported community-led housing scheme in the 1980s. Kareem has now helped RUSS grow from the four original founders to nearly 700 registered members. He is often invited to speak about RUSS and community housing issues in the media and with policy-makers. He is a musician and also leads workshops at RUSS’s School of Community-Led Housing.
Carol is instrumental in making sure RUSS runs smoothly. In her day job she is the Programme Director for a national grant-making foundation, where she sits on the Board as a member of the executive team. She is also one of the future residents of RUSS’s Church Grove development. As well as being secretary Carol is involved in the organisation’s vital fundraising work, and ensures all documentation – from agendas and minutes to RUSS’s Business Plan and its Annual Report and Accounts – are compliant and fit-for-purpose.
Dan is the Financial Controller for one of the leading town planning consultancies in the UK. His background as an ACCA qualified accountant ideally suits his position as RUSS Treasurer. Dan is focussed on managing RUSS’s exposure to financial risk and reporting on finances to the Board. He chairs RUSS’s Finance and Audit Committee and checks all financial procedures and controls are suitable, helping to ensure the viability and sustainability of all of RUSS’s activities.
Dave was one of the original team that constructed the pioneering Walters Way self build project in the 1980s. Since then he has, with his sons, renovated the home so that it is now highly energy efficient. Dave believes community self-build projects can deliver really affordable homes, and also lead to more cohesive and supportive communities. He is responsible for RUSS’s training activities and earns a living teaching Iyengar Yoga in his own self-built Yoga studio.
Dan de Lezameta
Dan is the contracts manager for an architectural glass company and he is an experienced project manager. He is bringing his knowledge of the building process to RUSS as it prepares for its first development. He is also on the list as a future resident of the Church Grove project and is giving time and energy as a Trustee to help ensure the project goes to plan. He also has responsibility for liaising with and growing RUSS’s membership.
Alice has a track record in communications – in both the public and non-profit sectors. She is also a journalist, having worked in the BBC newsroom for 12 years. More recently she has written for The Guardian on alternative housing and sustainability. She has a keen interest in the progressive housing schemes of architect Walter Segal, and has produced an exhibition and book on the subject. She is responsible for RUSS’s communications strategy, media relations and social media.
Courtney is a senior manager in the forensics team at EY, focusing on assisting clients in the financial services sector. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Fraud Examiner, and she is experienced in financial statement audits, financial crime compliance work, forensic accounting and fraud investigations. As a Trustee she provides oversight of RUSS’s finances and sits on the Finance and Audit Committee.
Tony is an independent regeneration consultant and helps voluntary and community organisations to become financially sustainable. He is the Trustee overseeing RUSS’s engagement with the local communities around our first development site at Church Grove. Tony is also an experienced fundraiser and regularly gets involved in drafting and submitting grant applications.
Ted Stevens OBE
Ted is one of the UK’s leading community-led housing and self-build campaigners. In 2008 he set up the National Custom and Self Build Association, and he chaired it until 2014. He then managed a research programme looking at how Britain could learn from the many innovative community-led housing projects that have been built across Europe. He has a successful track record of fundraising, and has strong contacts with government, the wider housing world and the self-build media. As a Trustee he co-ordinates RUSS’s various fundraising and media activities.