So when a group of students from Sussex University decided to get organised and do something about it, it was clear the task was both a very much needed and extremely complex one.
For the past three years, student officers at Sussex University in Brighton have received training in the practice of community organising from organisers Dot and Valentina. One of the officers trained last year, Ashling, felt strongly that Brighton’s housing situation needed to change. Using her community organising training from Dot and Valentina, Ashling began a listening campaign with Sussex students, where the idea of setting up a student housing co-op was suggested.
Led by Ashling, a group of passionate students gathered around this shared vision of a different way of living together and got to work. They established the housing co-operative group SEASALT – South EAst Students Autonomously Living Together. They secured funding from the local Community Land Trust to employ a project manager, put together a business plan and identified a 15-bed former care home suitable to become their prospective home. They then began exploring different ways of securing the property, approaching investors for funding and working with an ethical building society.
The group were keen to have inclusivity and openness at the heart of their organisation, as their website states: