Best Community Campaign
Christchurch Road Community Land Trust campaign
When you identify your goal, ask yourselves ‘is it worthwhile?’ And if so ‘is it winnable?
The campaign began in 2015, when a group of participants from The Advocacy Academy started a grassroots campaign to tackle the housing crisis. They were inspired by lived experiences of insufficient housing and housing instability.
They worked alongside Lambeth Citizens and London CLT to build a cross-generational team who would bring the dream of a Community Land Trust in Lambeth to life. They helped provide the expertise and strategic thinking needed to turn anger into action.
They met with local councillors, the Greater London Authority (GLA), Transport For London and Lambeth Council in order to raise awareness of the realities of the housing crisis in London and present a community-based solution. They identified a number of potential sites in the borough that would be suitable and eventually the Christchurch Road site was included in the Mayor’s “Small Sites, Small Builders” scheme, for which they submitted a successful bid.
The current phase of the campaign is guided by a steering group comprised of members of the local community who live, study/studied and work in Lambeth. As a steering group they have organised a community event to choose an architect democratically and worked with them to develop the ideal design for the site.
As they work towards submission of the planning application, they are developing leadership skills within the group and engaging the wider community to ensure that their goals align. They recently secured £60,000 of additional funding from the GLA for a series of social impact workshops with the aim of defining measurable project objectives.
Their advice for any grassroots group is the importance of being strategic; when you identify your goal, ask yourselves ‘is it worthwhile?’ And if so ‘is it winnable?’. Ensure that you have a sustainable structure that can endure knock-backs, changes in the political landscape and people leaving and joining.
Perhaps most importantly, any grassroots group that seeks to represent a community must reflect this in their membership. Having a cross-section of the community represented is vital to a sustainable campaign that is grounded in the experiences of those who surround you.