Join us on Saturday 30 June for a tour of local housing co-operatives in Brighton & Hove, each with its own story. This is a chance to see some of the ways more genuinely affordable and co-operative housing has been created in the city.
We are working with the Big Lemon bus company who will be driving people between the housing co-ops in a minibus. There will be two tours on the day, one at 9.00am (bus leaves at 9.15am) and one at 12.45pm (bus leaves at 1pm). The bus for both tours will leave from Old Steine, bus stop S. Each tour is approximately four hours long. They will finish at Christchurch House, 25 Montpelier Rd, BN1 2LS.
Tour 1 (morning) will call at Rosa Bridge, Hornbeam, Bug and Two Piers.
Tour 2 (afternoon) will call at Rosa Bridge, Dryad, Brighton Rock and Two Piers.
More information on all the co-ops can be found below. There will be a chance to stop for refreshments in the Two Piers gazebo at the end of both tours.
Places are FREE but please email email@example.com as soon as possible to sign up. Please let us know which tour you would prefer to go on and we’ll try and accommodate you.
The tour is free, but we require participants to become BHCLT members (fee £1). Join here: bhclt.org.uk/membership
Unfortunately, most of the properties in the tour are not accessible for wheelchairs. There is accessibility information next to the description of each co-op. Wheelchairs and pushchairs will need to be folded while on the bus. Please let us know if you are bringing a wheelchair or pushchair or if you have any questions or particular accessibility needs.
This event is one of many happening during Co-operatives Fortnight 2018.
If you would like more information about housing co-ops, please watch the workshop by Helen Bartlett from Rosa Bridge (see below) on how to set up a housing co-op.
Do you want to set up a housing co-op (or another form of community-led housing)?
Please read this page on our website on how to apply for money and support to help you set up a housing co-op (or another form of community-led housing) in Brighton & Hove. It goes over what are the criteria for funding and support. We can also help you fill in your application!
Information about the housing co-ops involved in the tour
The four founder members set up Hornbeam housing co-operative in 2011. They had been renting together for many years and dealing with all the insecurities that come with it before deciding to set up a housing co-op. As well as the insecurity of renting they set up Hornbeam to move away from property ownership, whilst still allowing people to be in control of their housing, giving people on a low income a stable place to live. The rent, which is well below market value, has also enabled members to move towards a more healthy work/life balance.
Hornbeam wants to show people that it is possible to live another way, believing that living communally is not only better for people but also the environment. They managed to secure a grant from the Government’s Empty Homes scheme and bought a property in Bevendean in early 2013.
The members did a lot of work and renovation on the property and Hornbeam is now a six member house, continuing to develop the property in the most sustainable way possible. There has only been a few changes in membership over the last few years but those who have left are still friends of the co-op and last year a baby arrived which has been fantastic. Hornbeam’s ethos of mutual aid and cooperation continues.
We have several steps down to our front door so are unfortunately not wheelchair friendly.
Two Piers is a permanent ownership housing co-operative, Brighton’s largest housing co-op. It provides affordable housing for 68 single people, including parents, in shared and self-contained flats and houses in several locations across the city.
The Christchurch flats are very central, close to Western Road. There are eleven flats, of various sizes, in two blocks facing each other across a small paved garden, which boasts a fishpond and lovely pergola.
Christchurch is on the site of an old church which was demolished. The Two Piers build started in 1985 and tenants moved in two years later. The housing was designed by Michael Blee, who closely followed the Co-op’s brief of providing a highly communal building, basing his ideas on rural villages in India and Mexico.
There is a ‘gazebo’ in the garden, used for meetings, band practice, children’s parties, meditation, and which currently houses the co-op’s archives and library.
The flat is accessible on ground floor but there are stairs to the toilet. Neighbours with no stairs can let people use their toilet if needs be.
More info: http://twopiers.coop
Bug Housing Co-operative was formed in 2005. It is situated in Higher Bevendean and currently house six members as well as the resident cat Jasper.
Bug is a fully mutual co-op which means that all decisions are made by members, generally at monthly meetings. Each member has their own co-op role(s), these may be taken on as an individual, shared or swapped by general agreement. The roles are treasurer, secretary, maintenance, garden, allocations, household and development.
Living within a co-op provides individuals with both affordable and secure housing. Bug believes in creating a supportive environment for all members in order for both members and “the co-op” (as a home, house and business) to thrive. When a vacancy arises they send an advert out through both the CHIBAH and Permaculture networks. Applicants that meet the criteria are invited to interview and successful applicants are taken on with a three month probationary period before becoming full members.
Unfortunately access to Bug is impossible to anyone in a wheelchair; they are situated up a hill, with a small mulch slope and four steps to access the front door.
More info: Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rosa bridge housing co-op
Rosa Bridge is a small, queer, feminist co-op of five members, set up in 2014 with the help of a grant from the DCLG’s Empty Homes Programme. It is part of an old dairy in the Tarner area of Brighton.
Rosa Bridge aimed to take housing, especially in the city centre, away from private ownership and to be part of creating different alternatives to notions of ‘home’.
There are three shallow but awkward steps to get into the house, and doorways are slim. All the communal areas are across the ground floor and there are no steps in the ground floor.
Brighton Rock Housing Co-operative established in 1987. It was formed out of the animal rights and squatting movements.
Our co-op consists of three terraced houses on the Hove/ Portslade border with four members living in each house. The three gardens are joined at the rear & we grow for wildlife and organic produce using permaculture principles. We have yearly communal meals and monthly meetings.
We do not have any un-housed members so generally Brighton Rock meetings consist of the twelve of us plus the occasional visitor. If you would like to attend a Brighton Rock meeting please contact us via the website.
Each member agrees to take on a role as part of their co-op membership as well as each having an equal share of the co-op wide decision making at meetings.
The houses have limited access for wheelchairs due to the width of doorways and multiple flights of stairs. If the weather is nice we will spend time in the garden which can be accessed by a side gate.
More info: https://brightonrockcoop.org/
Dryad Housing co-op
Dryad housing co-op
Dryad Is a collection of small wooden self build buildings in Hollingdean. It is set at the edge of town with shared green space and gardens in between the houses giving it a communal and rural feel. The co-op is a short life co-op and has a 20 year lease which is managed by CHISEL housing association from the Council . We are a fully mutual housing co-op and make decisions at monthly general meetings by consensus. We have officer roles and regular work days to share and manage the work of the co-op.
The houses are accessible by a steep set of steps, a small upward hill track or a uphill path with three steps. Help would be needed for anyone needing wheelchair access.
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