Secret Window Project in Crawley seeks an end to the region’s housing crisis

Leanne Phillips, Secret Window Project
Leanne Phillips, Secret Window Project

Leanne Phillips from the Secret Window Project explains their aims and how they see themselves as ‘an incubator for positive growth’.

We’re a small group of people looking for more people to join us in setting up a co-housing project in or around Crawley.

We arecurrently called the “Secret Window Project” until we gain more members and register with companies house.

We have two approaches.

The first is by starting a Community Land Trust (CLT) which is a group of community members who own land.

The second is to start a co-housing group, which is a group of people that live together, and support one another.

Community Land Trusts (CLT) are community-led groups, set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets.

CLTs act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable, not just for now but for every future occupier.

Check out some CLTs already up and running:

Cohousing communities are created and run by their residents.

Each household has a self-contained, private home as well as shared community space.

Residents come together to manage their community, share activities and facilities.

Property is co-designed to provide private and common facilities providing a balance between privacy and community.

Here are some existing cohousing projects:

With so many problems contributing to the Housing Crisis, community lead housing solutions are a refreshing and positive way to tackle this problem of lack of homes, plus we can help grow inspiring community groups which combat loneliness and isolation.

More info:

As the Government re-launches a multi-million Community Housing Fund more groups will be able to get the help they need to set up:

We’ve submitted our application for funding, and are hoping we’ll get access to £4,000 of government funding.

We’ll be doing everything we can to raise the capital needed to be a success.

We’re yet to outline a business model, and will be seeking legal advice, but we hope to set up a non-profit co-op community interest group.

This means everyone benefits, both individuals and profits that are made go back into the group.

We hope to create a system where when someone leaves the project they won’t leave empty handed.

We want this project to be a long-term commitment and a stepping stone into independence for our members.

Like an incubator for positive growth.

Alternatively members might see this as their forever home and stay with their fellows continuing to contribute.

With so many benefits, community housing is not just about the Housing Crisis, but the future of communities, bringing back community spirit and connection.

These are places bursting with energy, rather than stone cold concrete.

With shared facilities such as a laundry room and communal kitchen we’ll be encouraging real human connections.

We are seeking:

- People that need a home and would like to be part of a co-housing group, plus anyone else in the community that would like to see this dream become a reality.

- Land! We need to locate land to start developing.

- Financial support. We need to raise funds to begin, we will also be organising loans from ethical providers.