Blog authored by Stephanie Patterson, London CLT
London CLT, together with Community Led Housing London and National CLT Network organised a peer to peer exchange amongst Community Land Trusts' (CLT) for the SHICC project in London on the morning of Thursday 9th May. There was a great turnout from all of the European project partners, a diverse group of CLT’s from the greater London area as well as some campaign groups and other individuals and partner organisations involved in community led housing.
European and local CLT’s met in London meet to share knowledge and stories
The day started with the tour around St Clements – London CLT’s first completed project. While walking from Bow Road through the development site to Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, the groups heard in detail about how the initial campaign group pushing for land at the Olympic Site to become CLT homes, eventually evolved into the 23 beautiful homes in St Clements. The groups then met with some of the residents who talked about their own journey to achieving the near impossible – buying a home in inner London on a median income and moving into one of St Clements CLT homes!
After the tour we all came together for a workshop where groups known and unknown to each other had time to discuss issues they are facing as organisations and connect over a shared purpose of working towards building homes for their communities. Prior to the workshop all the groups participating identified Finance, Governance, Working with Partners and Campaigning as themes for the workshop.
CLT’s not only provide a solution to a communities housing needs, they empower individuals involved and form part of the global solution to providing sustainably affordable homes
During the workshop groups all across the spectrum from well-established and community entrenched organisations to newly established organisations led by a few passionate people in a neighbourhood were able to share learnings with one another. Across the themes, groups discussed issues they were facing, and shared stories and tips to tackle these issues. From how to save money and time on legal fees when establishing your CLT governance structure, to exploring different funding options at all stages of the CLT journey.
Amongst those based in London we heard how groups are more often than not competing for funding for their respective projects, sometimes isolating similar groups from each other. The workshop allowed time for many of these busy volunteers and staff to meet each other and realise how much overlapping knowledge and resources they could share. While sharing information with each other won’t change the fact that there is always limited funding it will make the broader group of CLT’s stronger and more efficient. Local CLT’s also noted that it was inspiring to hear from European CLT’s and partners to get the sense of being part of a much broader movement.
One participant, a member of a London based CLT said that he thought he wouldn’t be able to contribute much to the day initially, not being a professional in housing. After the event he was happy to see that his ongoing involvement in his local CLT had impacts other than simply moving forward their own local mission, that he had knowledge to share and help a broader movement.