Photo by Ellie Koepke

Following practical completion of the 12 Church Grove site in early 2024, we are very pleased to say that we’ve had our first group of residents moving in, and we are expecting many more to collect their keys over the next few weeks. We are overjoyed to see the hard work, perseverance and faith of our volunteers, trustees, partners and stakeholders come to fruition.
The block of 36 homes has taken 15 years from conception to completion. Local volunteers organised by RUSS have driven all stages of the process, from forming a group, acquiring land, raising funds, supervising architects and contractors, getting planning permission, and building and landscaping together as a community. The homes are in various sizes and all-affordable tenures: full ownership, part rent-part-buy, London Living Rent, and social rent.
We are grateful to all organisations who have supported this project. Our principal architect is Shepherd Epstein Hunter, with contributions from Architype and John Broome Associates – and we have worked with key partners, including the Greater London Authority, the London Borough of Lewisham, the Cooperative Development Society, Triodos Bank, and Big Issue Invest.
Our Chair of Trustees, Anurag Verma, says: “This has been a momentous and challenging project, but this community-led organisation has succeeded in creating a sustainable neighbourhood and unique housing model. This shows what can be achieved when ordinary people work together with a shared vision and determination. The project has been led by the community from the outset through the design, planning and building processes. The result is 36 homes with four tenure types, fully tailored to the needs of the residents. We hope that other community groups will be inspired to learn from this model and create their own housing to meet their needs.”
Developing the public riverside garden and play area at the site is our next task! Watch this space.

Photo by Ellie Koepke