Brixton Green, the non-profit community benefit society set up in 2008 to try to ensure that local people decide how the area is redeveloped, has been awarded nearly a quarter of a million pounds of National Lottery funding to help set up a community trust for the development of Somerleyton Road.
More than 1,200 people who either live or work in Brixton are members of Brixton Green. In November 2013, after five years of lobbying, Lambeth council agreed to develop the Somerleyton Road site in partnership with the community and Brixton Green.
Brad Carroll, the volunteer director and co-founder of Brixton Green, whose mother and grandmother lived on Somerleyton Road, said the model it had developed for community control of development was being talked of as “a solution for making homes truly affordable”.
Carroll served on the National Community Land Trust’s supervisory board where he focused on proving the relevance of the CLT model in urban environments. The land trust model has been better known for helping small rural communities to buy the places where they live from distant landlords.
After a rigorous evaluation, Brixton Green has been awarded £231,000 from Power to Change that is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, which distributes funds raised by the National Lottery to good causes. The money will be used to establish the Somerleyton Trust.
Carroll said the funding was not only a chance to establish the new community trust, but also “a vote of confidence in this approach to providing new homes and opportunities by the community for the community in the heart of Brixton”.
Sophie Macken, programmes manager at Power to Change, said: “We are very proud to be funding Brixton Green at this crucial moment in its development.
“It takes a lot of work for community businesses to make their ideas into a reality, and this is another exciting step forward.
“Brixton Green is precisely the sort of ambitious project, shaped and built by the local community, which will help the area thrive even with more tough times ahead.”
Over the next nine years, Power to Change plans to provide funding and support to help build many more sustainable community businesses that have a positive economic, social and environmental impact in England.
Brixton Green will be hiring a transition director to establish the Somerleyton Trust. The full job description will be available soon. Anyone interested in an informal chat should contact Brixton Green.