A community-led organisation with a clear social purpose
Participants wanted local residents to have influence and control over how the housing, public realm and community facilities on Somerleyton Road are managed in the long-term. After considering different options, support emerged for a Community Development Trust to be set up to fulfil this role, starting now.
There was agreement that a Community Development Trust should have a clear social purpose set out in a constitution or charitable articles: “to be a not-for-profit social business working to support the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the Somerleyton Road project; and involving residents, social enterprises, local businesses and the wider Brixton community.”
Financially independent and sustainable
The Community Development Trust should have an asset base so it can be financially independent and generate its own income. If Lambeth Council wish to retain the freehold of the Somerleyton Road site they could allow the Community Development Trust to hold the head-lease of the land. This would allow the Community Development Trust to generate rental income from community and commercial buildings and also from delivering contracts (eg housing management or upkeep of public spaces). Activities and services
Workshop participants wanted to see the Community Development Trust fulfil several roles. First, to be a voice for the community throughout the development process and in the longer-term, ensuring the site and the Trust continue to respond to local needs and priorities; second, to preserve and enhance the social, environmental and economic value of the project for local communities; third, to manage buildings, housing and public spaces; and fourth, to deliver social programmes, such as training, apprenticeships or young people’s projects.
People felt very strongly that the Trust must be accountable and responsive to local residents and businesses, and it should not rely solely on volunteers. Workshop participants felt it was very important that the Trust have paid staff with responsibility for delivery, and a board of elected trustees or governors drawn from local residents, local enterprises, Lambeth ward councillors and possibly other public agencies.
Brixton Green commissioned Social Life to run a series of 11 action planning workshops in April 2013. The aim was to enable a group of local people to come together, work through the details, and develop detailed and realistic plans for the site.
Seventy-nine local people took part with guest speakers including Ed Mayo from Cooperatives UK; Liz Cox from nef; Iain Tuckett from Coin Street Community Builders; Kelly Thomas and Mei Hui from OLMEC; Colin Crooks from Tree Shepherd; and Chris Bailey from Westway Development Trust.
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