Our mission is

Our mission is

“to provide sustainable affordable housing,

and workspace for community enterprises, in Somerset;

promoting co-operative principles and equality of opportunity

for the benefit of the community.”

SCCLT is a new co-operative society working to address the chronic shortage of affordable sustainable housing in Somerset, at the same time as creating incubators for new and growing community enterprises. Unlike other community land trusts, we see our main focus as being urban development where we add value to sites by mobilising volunteers and designing imaginative conversions; and keep costs low by reusing buildings and employing low impact building methods. We are also unusual in placing tenants at the heart of our governance structure, so that the land trust is always accountable to its intended beneficiaries. At the same time, any Somerset resident can join and have a say in how the society is run; people outside the traditional county can also join, but have limited voting rights in order to protect our mutual status.

Download our leaflet for more information.

We now own a property on East Reach in Taunton which we plan to develop for social housing and community workspace. 10 East Reach is a listed building and has considerable potential for additional uses on the substantial plot of land to the rear. Even without further development it can deliver four flats and a shop front for community enterprises in Taunton. In particular, we hope to provide the first high street outlet for credit union savings and loans.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Newsletter February 2016

At the start of 2016, we can take a look around and see what we've achieved. Being a social landlord is not easy, and we've been learning a lot from our mistakes. We have some great news - we have been offered a grant through the Urban Community Land Trust programme! - and this will help us press ahead with building more flats and improving facilities for our tenants.

To view or download the newsletter, click here.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Right to buy, or right to a home?

One consequence of the recent general election result is that the Conservatives manifesto promise of a 'Right to Buy' for Housing Association tenants may now be implemented as a law.
Effectively, the proposal is that the government should be given the power to take housing away from independent charitable organisations, and give it at a discount to people who already have a secure home. This will make it much harder for those organisations house people who are homeless.
For us, the big question is will it affect Community Land Trusts? We simply don't know. There is a presumption that only recipients of government grant will be affected - but which grants? We have had CLT start up grant, which came from public funds in the first place.
Even if we aren't affected, it will create a surge in housing need that we can't handle. Housing Associations must be allowed to opt out of this policy if they think it would damage their ability to help homeless people.
Please write to your MP - here are template letters for the Somerset MPs.
Letter to Rebecca Pow (Taunton)
Letter to Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater)
Letter to Marcus Fysh (Yeovil)
Letter to James Heappey (Wells)
Letter to David Warburton (Somerton and Frome)
Thanks to the National CLT Network for their work on these templates.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Some news from our good friends in the Ecological Land Co-operative: "Greenham Reach, a 22 acre site near Holcombe Rogus on the Devon/Somerset
border, is now home to three small farms. Living and working off grid, the smallholders are currently growing a range
of fruit, vegetables, specialist salad leaves, mushrooms and herbs, as well
as rearing rare breed livestock for milk, cheese and meat.
Established by the Ecological Land Co-operative (ELC), this is the first
project of its kind and aims to prove that it is possible to create
sustainable livelihoods from small scale farming. If the project is
successful then the ELC hope to expand their model and create similar sites
across the UK, helping more people to set up their own small farms.
There has been international interest in the project and the site was
recently featured on Radio 4's Farming Today show. Plans are now in place
to start hosting school trips, open days and work weekends, as well as
short courses in subjects such as no dig gardening, fruit tree grafting and
herbal medicine.

To do this, the smallholders intend to turn part of their timber framed
barn into a meeting space - providing toilets and a kitchen area for
visitors. For longer term visitors and volunteers there will also be a
shower room and facilities to wash clothes.
The A-Team foundation have pledged £4,500 to fund these developments, but
only if this amount can be matched from other sources. In order to raise
the necessary funds a crowdfunding campaign has been launched on Buzzbnk,
with a range of exciting rewards on offer in return for donations.
To find out more about the project and the rewards on offer please visit Buzzbnk.
“Our vision is of a truly sustainable approach to farming and food
production: a world where small-scale ecological food producers form a key
part of vibrant, happy communities, and where people feel a deep connection
with the food they eat and the land that sustains them.”
Listen to the Radio 4 Farming Today interview here. For all the latest news and to keep track of our progress don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter."

Friday, February 27, 2015

On the national day of action for CLTs, we're open to applications for our first tenants

The flats are almost ready, and February 28th is a national day of action when we call on local people and prospective parliamentary candidates to get behind CLTs.
In Taunton, what that means is: if you are in housing need, or at risk of homelessness, or unsuitably housed (because it's too expensive, too small or just too cold) you should find out if we can help. Fill in our application form here - you can apply by Facebook message, email, or just drop it through the letterbox at 10 East Reach. You've got until Monday 23rd March, so don't dawdle.
And whether you're in housing need or not, check out the National CLT Manifesto here and ask your local candidates if they're going to support it. We will, and we'll let you know the results here soon...
Here is the press release we put out for the day.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Vegetables - and somewhere to cook them

The latest picture from the garden shows some early crops going in; I particularly like the elder branches providing a frame for the peas to climb.
 But what use are vegetables without somewhere to cook them? Well, the first kitchen has gone in to flat 3:
 And in case you think it's looking a little cold in there, the radiators and secondary glazing are also going in.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Directors needed to guide our CLT into a new year of opportunity

The biggest role we have for volunteers is of course on the board of directors – and with some of our best people having to contemplate leaving the board in the new year, we are very keen to hear from members who might be willing to take their place. It's a friendly and supportive group which requires only good judgement and enthusiasm – though we certainly wouldn't turn away people with project management and social housing skills, it isn't a prerequisite.
If you think that you might be able to contribute something to our mission, and you have a keen interest in sustainability, social justice and mutual aid, then we'd like to hear from you. Contact landtrust@somerset.coop and we'll be happy to tell you more and arrange for you to meet with existing board members.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Savings and Loans shop becomes ship shape

Another progress report from 10 East Reach; the builders have reached the ground floor and created the final shape of our new shop, from which we hope to provide savings and loans and other co-operative services.
This includes the new door to provide access to the upstairs flats; hopefully this doesn't take away from the frontage too much, and it means that tenants and workers can each do their thing without troubling the other.

We can really see the shape now of the space we have to work with. Our discussions with partner organisations for the shop are proceeding well, with Somerset Savings and Loans ready to discuss expansion of their activities in Taunton with local agencies, the Phone Co-op providing materials and support for us as an agency, and Co-op Energy about to start their own agency scheme. They're all great organisations, and we will be pleased as punch to be able to raise their profile in Somerset.