Community support

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Tulse Hill is a densely populated area near Brixton, London. Although in the 10% most deprived areas of England & Wales, there is great dynamism among the 17,000 residents, and a massive demand for affordable community spaces.
Gang-related turf wars mean local estate halls can be perceived as no-go areas, and the main church hall had to be demolished in 1984.
In 2013 the church adopted a new and inspiring approach to meeting this need: a centre for all people built by local volunteers using straw bale construction. We asked award-winning Straw Works to design with us and train our teams for what will be the largest urban straw building in the UK and the first by any church in Europe.
By consciously choosing low-impact materials, we put sustainability at the heart of our provision. By working with community volunteers we educate and train new generations in caring for our planet.
Through this project we sustain the planet, train the people and attain our desperately needed goal: a permanent, affordable community hub.

A vote for us is a vote for a greener planet. From top to toe our hub uses upcycled waste material. The foundations are made from scrap tyres packed with shingle. The roof is covered with recycled plastic slates.
The walls are straw – an agricultural waste product, plastered with clay dug from our own ground. Externally they’re covered with lime, which is carbon neutral. Building without cement cuts out a major factor in global warming.
Our building techniques are as simple as possible, slashing the amount of fume-emitting machinery on site. And we’ll generate energy by Solar PV and a heat pump.

A vote for us is a vote for environmental awareness. Through training and publicity 5,000+ people are learning about our low-impact building methods - and have the chance to put them into practice.
Build Stage 1 (Foundations) brought together nearly 100 volunteers aged 8-86, for hands-on training in low-tech but effective building techniques. They include those with learning difficulties, young job-seekers, students, industry professionals, a local girls’ school building club, Young Offenders, members of the nearby Seniors and Social Clubs, plus neighbours and friends.
At every stage of this project traditional ways of building are refined for today’s context and new generations are inspired to take them into the future. We have been shortlisted for the Green Church Awards 2017.

A vote for us is a vote for community achievement. Our plans were birthed in the community, shared with the community, enacted by the community, and will serve the community.
We now seek funding for Stage 2 of our build, scheduled for Spring – Autumn 2018. During this stage we will raise the straw walls, mix and apply lime render, and make plaster with our self-dug clay. To do this, ordinary people will be trained to rigorous standards by Straw Works, the UK’s most experienced straw bale builders.
The process of learning and building brings people together, and increases mutual respect. Already, job seekers have moved on to apprenticeships through working with us; others told they would never work have found a meaningful role. Stage 2 will expand this further.
When finished, our community hall will seat 120 around tables, offer three group rooms and a good-sized kitchen. The building’s lifespan is projected at 200 years. Low energy costs will enable affordable hire for classes, groups, clubs and celebrations. Lives are already being changed through the project and this will continue when building is complete in 2020.

Make a Difference
A vote for us is a vote for generosity. Our total budget for this project is £650k and nearly 70% has already been raised, mostly through sacrificial donations of local people.
A maximum award from Aviva, will meet over half our Stage 2 costs, with the rest coming from our existing fund.
Please support us with your maximum vote.

Project Video

Holy Trinity Tulse Hill

Moment of Pride

As project leader and local Vicar, I am so proud of our volunteers’ unstinting generosity, openness and joy. It’s amazing to see all ages working together, learning new skills & uncovering old ones. Our goal is so compelling, with so many rewards on the way; our determination will take us there.

Location: Tulse Hill, London, United Kingdom