RUSS has set up a School of Community-led Housing offering individuals, community groups and housing professionals the chance to learn from RUSS’s many years of experience and gain information about how to set up a community-led housing project. The School offers workshops which are interactive, with exercises designed to stimulate discussion around the issues of community-led housing.

RUSS doesn’t have all the answers but it has found creative and robust ways to gain access to land on which to build, and is keen to share its learning and inspire others. The workshops also are a great opportunity to meet others interested in joining or forming community housing groups.

Community-led housing is a way for local communities to address their housing needs by producing their own decent and affordable homes. It is increasingly seen as a viable alternative for those whose housing needs are not met by the mainstream housing market. But how can communities and individuals access community-led housing? How do you set up and maintain a group, find land, organise finance and negotiate with local authorities?

RUSS has developed 2 workshop modules so far – Module 1 has been run since 2016, and we introduced Module 2 in November 2018. In 2019 we will develop new modules, as well a offer short training courses in self-building and skills. We also plan to arrange site visits to existing community-led housing projects for discussion and knowledge exchange.


Forthcoming events:


Saturday, 30th March 2019. 2pm to 4pm

RUSS School – visit to Marklake Court SE1

Afternoon visit, near London Bridge


Meet: 26 Leathermarket Street, London, SE1 3HN

A chance to visit a unique development of community-led social-rent homes.

Marklake Court is a complex of 27 flats in two blocks, set within the Kipling Estate in Bermondsey. Following a survey of Council tenants and leaseholders across Leathermarket JMB’s estates that found that many were living in unsuitable housing, residents had the chance to lead the design of new homes on the site then occupied by 20 single-storey garages.

All of the flats are let at council-level rents by the Leathermarket Community Benefit Society, which was formed by local residents involved with the estate’s tenant management organisation (Leathermarket JMB). It is a great example of how community-led housing can meet the needs of social housing residents, with low-cost rent and resident-led designs that enable people to move into a home that meets their needs while staying in their central London community.

Accessibility: Marklake Court is fully accessible, and there is also lift/step-free access to the JMB Leathermarket office.

The homes have won a number of accolades, including:

· Shortlisted for an RTPI Excellence in Planning Award 2019

· Shortlisted for the RIBA Journal MacEwan Award for architecture for “the common good” 2019

· Civic Trust Awards Regional Finalist 2019

Full details & bookings



Saturday, 8 June 2019. 10am to 4pm

From vision to pre-planning (RUSS School Module 2)

1 day workshop at RUSS Self-build Hub, Ladywell


Venue: CDS Co-operatives, 7-14 Great Dover Street, Borough, London SE1 4YR

Booking details will be posted on Eventbrite in early April 2019

The format is informal, classroom style, allowing easy interaction and discussion. Teas & coffees provided, byo lunch or eat locally.

This one-day workshop is the second module in our education programme. It covers the actions required to take the project from a vision to the pre-planning stage.

Module 2 is suitable for individuals or groups wishing to develop a community-led housing project, with or without a specific site in mind. Module 2 gives a very clear overview of the work, people, resources and finance needed. RUSS will share its experience of the 27 months it took achieve this – reviewing barriers, mistakes and delays with a second project in mind.

RUSS is a volunteer-led Community Land Trust based in south London, founded in 2009 with the mission of creating sustainable neighbourhoods and genuinely affordable homes.  In June 2018, RUSS was granted planning permission for 33 homes at Church Grove, Ladywell, south east London. It will be London’s largest affordable self-build housing project.



Jon Broome, Architect & self-builder

Emma Gittus, Director at Bringelly, community-led housing project specialist

Chris Carthy, Architect and project manager

Anne Kennedy, workshop organiser and RUSS volunteer

Attending Module 1 before this workshop is advisable but not essential. If you would like to attend module 1, which covers the early stages of a project, the next Module 1 workshop which will take place on Saturday 5 October 2019.


July 2019

RUSS School – day trip

Day trip to visit community-led housing projects outside London.

Bookings and costs to be announced early April. Limited tickets so plan to book early!



Saturday, 5 October 2019. 10am to 4pm

How to set up a community-led housing project (RUSS School Module 1)

1 day workshop, London venue TBC.


Venue: TBC, Borough or Lewisham.

The format is informal, classroom style, allowing easy interaction and discussion. Teas & coffees provided, byo lunch or eat locally.

Module 1 is suitable for individuals or groups interested in setting up a community-led housing project, or wanting to know more about the sector and RUSS’s story and actions. This is a ‘start-up’ level workshop.

Topics include:

    • Creating a group – finding people who share your vision
    • Organising – networking and building your membership
    • Land – where to find it
    • Local authorities – how to work with them
    • Finance
    • Communications
    • Crowdfunding
    • Ongoing networking

Attendee profile for Module 1:

  • Individuals or groups looking for an affordable home solution
  • Individuals or groups wanting to develop a community-led housing project/campaign
  • Individuals or groups looking for a community-led housing solution for a specific area
  • Individuals or groups curious about community-led housing, CLTs etc
  • Individuals or groups curious about self-build
  • Council staff and consultants wanting to know more about community-led housing
  • Students and Architects interested in affordable housing, self-build, housing economics, community organising…

Booking details will be posted on Eventbrite in early summer 2019


To register an interest, or ask any questions about attending future events, please contact us at