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Press Release

South-London based members-led Community Land Trust to receive £1.2m in investment from Big Issue Invest

The Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS) is a members-led Community Land Trust based in South London, founded in 2009 with the aim of creating sustainable community-led neighbourhoods and truly affordable homes right across London.

The Rural Urban Synthesis Society has received £1.275m in funding from Big Issue Invest, the investment arm of Big Issue Group.

The Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS) is a members-led Community Land Trust based in South London, founded in 2009 with the aim of creating sustainable community-led neighbourhoods and truly affordable homes right across London.

The organisation runs a busy calendar of events led by its 1,000+ members and an ambitious development plan. Its mission is to reduce the communities’ dependence on fossil fuels, increase food security, encourage bio-diversity and provide affordable housing for Londoners.

RUSS aims to establish a model development process for creating socially, economically and environmentally sustainable neighbourhoods of high-quality homes, managed by residents, which remain genuinely affordable for future generations and which can be replicated in Lewisham, London and across the UK.

The investment from Big Issue Invest will assist RUSS in continuing the development of Church Grove, a Lewisham-based site, into affordable social housing units.

The Church Grove site will include 36 flats of different tenures, sizes and levels of self-build in order to create a truly mixed community. Tenures will include social rent, affordable rent, shared equity and shared ownership. RUSS will work with the Council to allocate the social housing. The rest will be a mix of shared equity or shared ownership homes.

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RUSS is guided by ten key principles. These guidelines, which have been developed through workshops with members and the wider community, embed the ethos of affordability, sustainability, self-governance and community engagement into everything the organisation does.

To find out more about Big Issue Invest, or how your organisation could receive similar support to RUSS, please visit: https://www.bigissue.com/invest/

Glenn Arradon, Loan Manager at Big Issue Invest, said: “It is an absolute pleasure to be able to support an important social and community-led organisation such as RUSS. The work they do in their community and to bolster affordable housing in South London is vital. I am excited to watch them continue to grow from strength to strength.”

Anurag Verma, Chair of Trustees at RUSS, said: “We are incredibly pleased to have secured this investment from Big Issue Invest. We are very much looking forward expanding our offering and helping even more people across the community.”

To find out more about RUSS, visit their website here: https://www.theruss.org/

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