We bring some exciting news! In October we received confirmation of funding from the National Community Land Trust Network (NCLTN) “Cohesive Communities” fund.

This grant has enabled us to employ Claude Hendrikson as an associate to lead on our diversity efforts. His role will be to boost our capacity to research and increase the diversity of our membership and support more people from minority groups including Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and Lesbian, gay, Bisexual, transexual affirmitive (LGBTQ+) groups to develop their own housing.

He will research the picture in our current membership and the Community Led Housing (CLH) movement in the region, will meet with groups and stakeholders, including possible partners like Housing Associations, the council and developers, and will encourage more diversity in our organisation through marketing and membership campaigns and events. He will summarise his findings and all of this will be fed into our ongoing work and business planning. Steve Hoey and Jimm Reed, directors at Leeds Community Homes, will support Claude as he does this. Claude brings knowledge and experience of working with BAME groups across the city as well as research and publication skills to help with this project.

Claude was the founder and project Co-ordinator 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 groups in terms of housing, self-build and training/employment. He was commissioned in 2016/17 to produce a 10 year strategy for Leeds City Council (LCC) around self-build, custom build and community led housing. That report was well received and informed LCC’s housing strategy.

We are working with one group of five African Caribbean people on an estate in West Leeds who want to renovate empty homes for young offenders, and an LGBTQ+ group that wants to create extra care housing across the generations for their own community. These projects are great, and we want to see more BAME and LGBTQ+ groups being supported in Leeds and the wider region, becoming our members and part of the Community Led Housing movement that we are at the heart of.

As a Community Land Trust we are developing schemes to create affordable housing, and as a regional hub we are supporting over 30 groups to do the same for their communities. We are keen to increase the diversity on our Board, in our membership, within the groups that we support and in the CLH movement more widely.