New Leadership duo to chair London’s largest community-led affordable self-build housing project.

Two enthusiastic Londoners have been elected as the Co-Chairs of RUSS, the Lewisham based community-led housing organisation that is delivering the city’s largest-ever affordable self-build housing project.

Lewisham born Kwame Lowe will work alongside Anurag Verma to steer RUSS’s Board of Trustees during the next critical phase of the organisation’s development. They are taking over from Kareem Dayes, one of the founders of RUSS in 2009. Kareem has chaired the organisation since its inception.

Kwame Lowe, new RUSS Co-Chair

Anurag Verma, new RUSS Co-Chair

RUSS’s first project will provide 33 low-cost, partly self-built, eco homes in Church Grove Ladywell. The £8.6m development is expected to secure planning permission shortly, and construction work is due to begin on site later this year.

Kwame, 25, grew up in Forest Hill, and he is very familiar with the pioneering Walters Way self-build project, which was constructed in the 1980s. He has been a member of RUSS for many years, he has worked in the social housing sector and he has a wealth of experience of liaising with funders. “I’ve been a big advocate of RUSS and its mission since its early days. I have strong connections to the local community and I believe my background in communications, fundraising and the social housing sector will help increase RUSS’s reach as much as possible. I’m particularly keen to see more projects like the Church Grove scheme as it’s a solution to the housing crisis that people from all backgrounds can be involved in,” says Kwame.

Anurag, 45, studied and worked in India and Germany, before moving to the UK 17 years ago. His lives with his family in Forest Hill and is an associate director at Latitude Architects. He also taught architectural theory at London Metropolitan University and the University of East London. He is committed to the idea of empowerment through sharing resources and wants RUSS’s unique development ‘model’ for delivering affordable self-built homes replicated widely across London and other cities. Anurag says: “With my design background and a keen eye for detail, I can play a key role in ensuring the Church Grove scheme is delivered in an innovative, efficient and cost-effective manner. A lot more people should know about RUSS and its unique development model and I look forward to bringing this message to a wider audience so communities on modest incomes can get their own projects underway.”

Over the next few months Kareem will help to brief and induct the duo, to ensure a smooth transition.

Kwame is currently on a short-term assignment in Paris, so Anurag will initially take the helm. “We have a talked a lot, and our skills are very complementary. Both of us were keen on the idea of sharing the role, and I’m confident we will work well together, and we will be able to steer RUSS through the next exciting phase of its evolution,” said Kwame.

For further information contact RUSS Trustee Ted Stevens on 07860 336087