When London Community Neighbourhood Co-operative, LCNC, started meeting one factor was, and still is, very important to us. We want to be open and transparent about the project, the decisions we make, the information we gathered and the people we meet and work with. As well as openness about the project we see LCNC as an example of what community groups can do. To spread the word and make our journey something others can learn from, we thought we would write a monthly blog. This is where we could regularly tell anyone interested how we are doing, where we are up to, the process, trials, tribulations and elation of creating and pushing LCNC forward. Here we are –
1 January 2014. A good time to start!
Here’s what we want to do:
We want to self build (now called custom build) a three story load bearing straw bale intergenerational apartment building. The project also includes a separate community centre. The community centre will house 5 projects, life long education and skill sharing, urban agriculture, cafe and healthy eating project, multi use work spaces and mutual fund. There are many details and sides of this large neighbourhood creation project. We want to embed in a geographic area hence the term ‘neighbourhood’ in our name but also we also recognise the project encompasses lots of communities of interest, hence the work ‘community’ in our name. And integral to LCNC is that our journey be replicable, that others can learn from our experiences.
Who are we?
At the moment we are five women aged between 30 and 60 who met through various education and housing activism. We have many skills but none of us are developers or members of any building profession. We have spent about three years honing the project and developing our governance structures, policies, fund-raising strategies and helping the different parts of the project get off the ground.
We have also built a straw bale office. Building is an important part of the project for us as working with our hands, learning new skills, creating something beautiful and useful is integral to our own sustainability as a group.
The name!!! Having a long boring descriptive main name (yes we agree with you) we tried to find something lighter and cleverer for the blog. We thought, we searched, we squirmed and ripped our clothes and beat our breasts and found that even once we came up with a good name they were gone! Finally we hit the nail on the head! And the name was born. It is important for its metaphorical meaning of doing the thing that is needed while also referring to building and literally hitting a nail on its head. We are doing both!
We plan to tell you more about all of these issues as time goes by. Individuals running different strands of the project and those who have been working closely with us will blog here. We see the blog as a place where we can meet each other, where we can share our ups, downs and triumphs. where maybe we hope we can inspire you a little bit with what might be possible. We are on a fantastic journey. We hope you will come along with us.