A new assisted self build housing scheme in Downham was officially opened on Tuesday 15 February by the Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock. The new housing scheme was built in association with London and Quadrant (L&Q) Housing Association.
The scheme at Beechmont Close, Downham, has replaced unused council owned garages with 13 new homes. The assisted self build scheme saw 10 young adults from Lewisham involved in the construction of homes they themselves now live in. The scheme also provided the young adults with valuable on-site construction experience and skills training.
The idea of the assisted self-build scheme for young adults in Lewisham originated from local youth worker Peter Wekpe and was adopted by an interim Steering Group, consisting of local Councillors and representatives from various community groups. The Steering Group worked with the Community Self Build Agency (CSBA) and Beechmont Close was identified as a suitable site. L&Q was appointed as the housing association partner to carry out the project.
David Gannicott, Regional Director for South London at L&Q said, “We are proud to have been involved in this project as it has enabled the young people to acquire to skills, qualifications, confidence and employability which will continue to assist them well into the future.”
The 13 new homes consist of 10 flats (6x 1 bed and 4x 2 bed) that the assisted self builders were involved in and 3 houses (3 bed). The aim of the assisted self build project was to target young people in housing and training need to assist a contractor in the construction of the new flats. The CSBA recruited a support worker and 10 assisted self builders via local youth agencies.
The recruited assisted self-builders attended Lewisham College to undertake a number of courses including basic and foundation construction, as well as BTEC and NVQ Level 1 & 2 courses in various trades. Alongside their studies, each self builder was required to attend site for a minimum of 16 hours per week.
Tion Gittens, 24, one of the young assisted self builders said, “Now we have moved in, it feels great to be building a future in a home I can say I built. In the three years of the assisted self build I have learned life changing skills and now progressing in the trade that I learnt while taking part in the build.”
Enterprise Managed Services were appointed as contractor for the scheme and worked closely with the Support Worker, the Assisted Self Builders, Martin Associates and L&Q and the project was completed on 15 December 2010 and the young people moved in shortly after.
The 10 young adults involved in the assisted self build are now L&Q residents. David Gannicott, Regional Director for South London at L&Q said, “We are proud to have been involved in this project as it has enabled the young people to acquire to skills, qualifications, confidence and employability which will continue to assist them well into the future.”
Youth worker Peter Wekpe said, “The scheme shows what can be achieved through partnership working between various agencies and the community. The young people involved have earned independence, a sense of achievement and a roof over their head. They can feel pride in saying ‘We built this’”.