The Church Grove Project Board is made up of Operations Director Dinah Roake and RUSS members including trustees, future residents, community leaders and practitioners within the built environment. Our broad range of skills and experience is our strength.

We are committed to ensure the RUSS Church Grove Project becomes a reality, with a lasting positive legacy for future residents and the wider community.

The Project Board acts as client and provides oversight for the project, with delegated authority from the main Board of Trustees. The Project Board supports the work of the Operations Director and the Working Groups.

What have we been doing in 2020-21?

Led by Dinah Roake, and working with RUSS’s professional team, the Project Board has been

  • assessing project risk and strategies for mitigation risk
  • scrutinising budgets and schedules
  • engaging in design development with architects and professional consultants, working towards our successful application to Lewisham Council for a Minor Material Amendment to the planning permission granted in 2018
  • feeding in to detailed design work as we close in on a building contract. This has included everything from delivering metre square samples of building materials to Lewisham Planning officers to discussing the design of bike sheds and flush systems.
  • engaging with key stakeholders in Lewisham and the wider field of community housing. This has included public meetings on Zoom, producing printed information and updates by letter and email.

What’s coming next?

The tasks ahead include:

  • developing the self-build strategy with future residents and appointing a self-build manager
  • developing a housing management strategy
  • applying for Registered Provider status
  • preparing information packs about the flats for sale and for rent
  • reshaping the way the Project Board works to take us into the construction phase

Join us!

As we shift to a more strategic approach in the coming months, the Project Board will oversee a number of Working Groups including Housing, Resident Self Build and the construction team. We are actively looking for people with experience in residential projects or affordable housing, skills and energy to join us on the Project Board.

Do you have experience in managing social housing, writing and managing leases or helping an organisation to become a Registered Provider? Or know someone who does? We’d love to talk to you about any help you can offer, whether it is a few hours of pro bono advice or more regular involvement over the coming 12-18 months. Contact mike@theruss.org

The Church Grove Project Board 2020-21

Photo of Mike Freed
Mike Freed, Chair

Mike is experienced in delivering infrastructure, building services and sustainability within the built environment, across the commercial building, technology and housing association sectors.

He was also part of the core RUSS volunteer-led team that designed and built our high quality Community Hub on the RUSS site, unveiled as part of Open House 2019.He is passionate about affordable housing in London and the opportunity that provides for residents and those around them. He believes RUSS is a fantastic collaboration of a diverse group of energetic people, set to create a positive legacy that we trust future residents will be proud to call home.

Photo of Jon Broome
Jon Broome

Jon is an architect and self-builder with particular experience and expertise in affordable housing, self-build, community projects and sustainable, low-energy construction.

He has been involved in RUSS since its inception, initially as a volunteer then as Jon Broome Architects, employed as consultants on Strategic Project Design.  More recently, he has been a volunteer member of the Project Board and currently is a volunteer Design Advisor.

Photo of James Kinnersly
James Kinnersly

James is a Chartered Town Planner with a decade of experience in both planning and development. He has managed the delivery of housing developments ranging from small resident-led regeneration projects to 2500+ home schemes, working for both developers and councils. He has wide-ranging expertise that includes negotiating and holding relationships with planning authorities, conducting feasibility studies, engaging and involving residents, and advising and overseeing housing projects through to delivery.

Eleanor Margolies

Eleanor was Chair of the East Dulwich Estate Regeneration Project Team for five years, where she worked with residents and Southwark Council to plan and oversee new building work and refurbishment of estate landscaping, ensuring that residents’ views and interests were heard and acted upon. In this role, she helped fundraise and create a new community garden and organised community events. Eleanor is a future Church Grove Project resident and longstanding member of RUSS.

Dwayne Officer

Dwayne is a Chartered Quantity Surveyor and has over 12 years of experience in the construction industry working on multiple sectors with a focus on residential projects. Dwayne joined RUSS in the winter of 2021 and leverages his expertise to provide RUSS with commercial governance to ensure cost control is given high importance and the commercial interests of RUSS are protected.

Dwayne is passionate about learning more about Community Led Housing and its role in providing affordable and sustainable homes within the UK.

Photo of Dinah Roarke
Dinah Roake

Dinah is the Operations Director of RUSS and has wide experience of community-led housing projects, with a track record that includes working at a senior level in the private, public, housing association and third sectors. Her previous roles include leading a 300-home community-led housing scheme in Brixton, working for Peabody Trust on a major estate regeneration project in Hackney, and helping to draft the 2018 business plan for the London Community-Led Housing Hub, part-funded by the GLA.

Dinah’s career has included stints at the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency (now called Homes England) and English Partnerships. She is currently a non-Executive Board Member of Otterpool Park LLP, and an expert member of the British Standard Institute’s ‘sustainable development in communities’ committee..

Dinah says: “RUSS’s Church Grove project is really innovative as it delivers truly affordable homes for Londoners. It’s genuinely community-led and council supported. I’m determined to deliver the scheme and to capture all the lessons we learn along the way, so that it can be replicated more widely across London and beyond. The community-led housing sector is growing in the UK and I believe the RUSS scheme can be used as a template for scores of other similar schemes”.

Anurag Verma

Anurag believes that community input and participation are crucial to the wellbeing of our cities and that a land stewardship model like RUSS’s shows us a path towards building a sustainable future while mitigating the impacts of climate change.  

He has an architectural background and is working to make design accessible and legible to communities who stand to gain most from active participation in their futures. 

He lives locally and is passionate about delivering sustainable communities and wants to see neighbourhoods like Church Grove replicated widely across London and other cities.  

As a member of the Project board and Chair of Trustees, he is committed to the delivering Church Grove in an innovative and sustainable manner. 

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