The Church Grove Project Board is made up of RUSS Board members, community leaders and technical advisors with specialisms in the built environment and housing management, led by an independent Chair. Meetings are attended by RUSS’s Client Rep and the Church Grove appointed construction manager, the Employer’s Agent. 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 Client Rep and working groups on Housing Management, Resident Self Build and the Community Hub.

What have we been doing in 2021-22?

Driven by Dinah Roake (Operations Director to early 2022, now Client Representative for Church Grove), and working with RUSS’s professional team, the Project Board has been putting everything in place to start on site in October 2021. This has included:

  • assessing project risk and strategies for mitigating 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 for the tender package for the 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,
  • securing grants and loan funding, alongside carrying out the due diligence for these with legal advisors
  • entering into a two-stage Design & Build construction constract with ROOFF
  • 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, and putting in place housing management and maintenance policies and procedures
  • preparing information packs about the flats for sale and for rent
  • taking RUSS through the construction phase and into the sales and lettings phase, leading to future residents getting their keys and moving in.
Join us!

We are actively looking for people with skills, energy and experience in residential projects or affordable housing to join us on the Project Board.

Do you have experience in managing and maintaining mixed tenure housing, high quality care of building assets, writing and managing leases or helping an organisation to implement housing mangement and maintenance policies and procedures? 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 eleanor@theruss.org

The Church Grove Project Board 2021-22

The RUSS Board of Trustees has appointed Eleanor Margolies, Dwayne Officer, Becca Antink and Ben Beck to the Church Grove Project Board. Other technical advisors and volunteers attend to support the scrutiny and delivery of the Project Board’s outputs.

Members (in alphabetical order)

Becca Antink Trustee (Executive Member 2022)

Becca has broad experience in local and city government, most recently in her role delivering affordable housing at the Greater London Authority. She also worked for several years as a researcher, at the RSA (Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) and IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research). She has particular expertise around sustainable and inclusive models of local economic development, place identity and heritage. She holds an MSc in Social Policy and Planning from the LSE, for which she conducted research with residents of Lambeth housing estates about their experiences of regeneration, gentrification and displacement. Becca lives in SE London and has previously volunteered on site with RUSS, as well as on an off-grid self-build in British Columbia.

Ben Beck (Trustee)

Ben was involved in the tenants’ movement in Lewisham from the late 1970s, when he moved to the Milton Court estate in New Cross. In the 1990s he became a founder member and the first chair (and he is currently acting treasurer) of Five Ways Housing Management Limited, which is one of the only two Tenant Management Organisations in Lewisham set up under the Right to Manage. He was employed in housing from 1989 to 2016, initially for Lewisham Council but subsequently for Southwark. For the last 16 years of his working life he was a member of the Tenant Management Initiatives team in Southwark Housing, which had responsibility for overseeing all the 15 TMOs in the borough. Most recently, he was chair of Voluntary Action Lewisham for the final two years before its merger with the METRO charity.

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.

Eleanor Margolies, Executive Member 2022-present (Chair 2021-22)

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, Chair 2022-present

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, Client Rep

Dinah is the Client Rep (and previously 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”.

Previous members of the Church Grove Project Board

Mike Freed (Chair of Church Grove Project Board, 2017-2021)

James Kinnersly (Executive Member, CGPB 2020-21)

Anurag Verma (Chair of RUSS Board)

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