The Community Land Trust Network has brought together a group of nine CLT ambassadors from CLT groups in England and Wales. The ambassadors were chosen because they represent a broad range of experiences and backgrounds – and impressed us with their ability to speak enthusiastically about the positive impact CLTs are having on communities up and down the country.
They have been trained in public speaking, speaking with the media and about the CLT movement at the national level. Armed with these tools and their own experiences, they are ready to speak on behalf of their CLTs and the movement. If you are interested in inviting one (or more!) of the CLT ambassadors to speak at your event or with the media, please contact us via [email protected].
Meet our CLT ambassadors below, in their own words.
Hello, I’m Aya. I’m a creative practitioner, exploring the relationship between people, places, and design. I work in a multidisciplinary capacity across architecture, design/art, and community engagement. I’m interested in how we can co-create stronger communities together.
I am also a Board Trustee at Forest CLT, and a Peer Researcher at The Young Foundation (via the CLT Network), looking into removing barriers to diversity and inclusion in CLTs. I support the CLT movement and I believe it enables communities to play an active role in connecting to their neighbourhoods. The current housing crisis and sky-high rent restrict many people’s basic needs of having a safe space to live in, majorly affecting people’s quality of life, and exacerbating physical and mental health concerns across the country. CLTs create the option to step outside of this unsustainable model and build community spaces and housing that is more holistic and sustainable in its approach. By giving agency back to the community, I think we have an opportunity to create neighbourhoods and homes that at the core are well-connected, healthy and much happier.
Hi, my name is Anurag Verma and I’m a member, ex-chair and advisor to RUSS, a South London, member-led, CLT set up with the aim of creating sustainable self-build community led neighbourhoods and truly affordable homes right across London. My current roles include organising the RUSS school of community led housing and assessing the development potential of future sites. In my day job, I am the associate director at Latitude Architects.
I have seen first-hand the transformation of our community into a confident and resilient organisation as we made our way from the group stage to starting on-site at Church Grove. The community land trust model offers us a practical and sustainable model for the stewardship and development of that most precious of resources, our land. As an ambassador, I look forward to spreading the ‘can do’ message of the community land trust movement, helping like-minded communities develop their own sustainable developments and highlighting the need for greater diversity in our sector.
Beverley is a local businesswoman from Leeds, operating two successful businesses: retail and business development. She has a wide range of experience across social housing and built environment sectors, from project and business development, grant funding, social enterprises and consultancy. She is also an accredited community led housing adviser and sits on the Board of Leeds Community Homes. Beverley is passionate about social investment and the community led housing sector and its role to empower local communities.
Claude was the project manager on the Frontline community self build scheme in Leeds, which saw 12 unemployed African Caribbean men and their families build new homes for themselves. He has remained a passionate advocate for BAME & minority groups in terms of Community Led housing, and training/employment.
Claude brings knowledge and experience of working with BAME groups as well as research and publication skills to the movement. He is an accredited Community Led Homes adviser and advises groups and hubs across England on Diversity and Inclusion.
He was commissioned by Leeds City Council (LCC) in 2016/17 to produce a 10 year strategy around self-build, custom build and community led housing, which acted as a catalyst for setting up Leeds Community Homes.
Hi I’m Darren French. I started my journey with Heart of Hastings CLT at the old power station site in Ore Valley, a site that I had grown attached to through living nearby and spending time there while growing up. It started as a way to keep myself busy through some tough times. However, I very quickly became excited by the different approach to volunteering and projects they were involved with and soon gained the support of the local community, other volunteers, trustees and staff when I put myself forward to become a trustee.
Over time my knowledge and passion grew for other developments that were taking place in the eco system and how we are empowering the local community to make a difference. I’ve now become more involved with all aspects of the Hastings Commons and have recently become a director of WRNV. I’m very excited by the possibilities for local people and places that we have the opportunity to work with and help grow.
As an ambassador, I want to fight for the CLT movement to become more wide spread and accepted by central government as a part of the solution to the current housing crisis and for CLTs to be an integral part in giving the power back to the community and to help empower the individuals involved.
Hello, I’m Jacqui Wilding, Chair of Bronllys Well Being Park CLT Ltd which is working to create a unique and inspiring well being park that will complement and support the current health services available. We hope to introduce new facilities that will strengthen the economic, health and social well-being of the local communities of Bronllys, Talgarth, Hay-on-Wye and surrounding areas. Our proposals reflect a compassionate, equitable and sustainable resource for these communities.
We are very fortunate in Wales, as we can claim to be the only country to have fully embraced the concept of sustainability and have actually enshrined it in legislation- the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2016. However, Wales like the rest of the UK, is not immune to problems with housing, transport, energy and employment, despite the courageous efforts and innovative initiatives proposed by so many community individuals and groups.
I became a CLT Network Ambassador to enhance and promote CLTs throughout the UK and especially in Wales, where community ownership of land and assets trails other UK nations substantially, in particular when it comes to Government policies and rights.
The passion I feel to ensure the success of Bronllys Well Being Park CLT Ltd remains strong thanks to the exceptional energy of those involved and, as an ambassador, I hope to promote and ensure its development and success.
Hi there, I am a single mum of 2 living in rural Herefordshire. I feel very honoured to be a CLTN Ambassador.
On the ground, I have been working with Larkrise Cohousing – soon to be a CLT – for a number of years to support this community led development in achieving its aim of creating affordable and sustainable housing that is held in perpetuity and has a strong and inclusive community ethos.
For me, this is the only type of housing that makes sense. Humans are designed to live in small groups and live better, more fulfilled lives when they are empowered and supported by each other and able to create and contribute. For too long now has housing been seen as a commodity. In order to gain good quality housing, one must prove themselves with their bank balance. This, for me, is not what a human is worth and housing is a necessity, the bedrock of creating a healthy and thriving community and society. Community led housing has become a passion. The CLT model is truly inspiring and I have come across a lot of groups all looking for the same answer. Being an ambassador I hope to spread the word and raise the profile of the CLT model so more people can see the solutions it offers and know it’s
Hi I am Tom. I live and work in a small town near the Scottish border and am a member of Glendale Gateway Trust a CLT based in the Market Town of Wooler.
As the former CEO of Glendale Gateway Trust, I helped the charity purchase and renovate empty and decaying High Street properties and find the resources to create new housing units, retail properties a community resource centre and a Youth Hostel.
The impact of the CLT on the community and the rejuvenation of the High Street was huge and proved to be a model that is replicable up and down the country.
As we face the challenges of repurposing High Streets and Town Centres after the life-changing pandemic I am keen to extol the virtues of community ownership and highlight what can be done by harnessing local energy, enthusiasm and commitment to create sustainable and engaged communities.