We recognise that early support can make a huge difference in helping a new community-led housing group to become established, particularly in helping them understand the process of becoming an incorporated organisation and the responsibilities upon them. 

Many groups may require guidance and support to deal with issues such as:

  • Choosing a suitable legal form
  • Taking on roles within an organisation
  • Training
  • Realising their vision on paper as a project plan
  • Working with the wider community
  • Identifying land
  • Working out outline costings
  • Viability and project costs
  • Identifying funding sources
  • Developing a business plan and deciding the best way forward/procurement route.

This is time intensive work and requires a consistent, experienced and professional approach.

Currently, Chichester District Council is unable to provide support in all these areas in house, due to lack of capacity and specialist knowledge. However, Chichester District Council has teamed up with Locality, a not-for-profit organisation, with a nationwide network of 600 community led groups. Its objective is to support the growth of the CLH sector and promote CLH as a key means of addressing the housing crisis supporting communities. To date, they have supported over 50 CLH projects across the country.

Locality support CLH projects by offering:

  • Experience of enabling a full range of community led organisations, small and large with an extensive network
  • Provision of a full range of expertise
  • Tailored support to the CLH scheme

Chichester District Council has agreed that the CLH funds will be used in part to cover the costs of Locality providing a triage and early stage support service to support groups within the district.

The triage and support service will operate as follows:

  • Assess housing needs
  • Assist with the identification of sites
  • Refer groups to locality
  • Advice and guidance on incorporation and a suitable legal format for the proposed project
  • Governance support and training
  • Organisational support
  • Business and/or project planning
  • Brokering and supporting partnerships
  • Financial review and guidance
  • Community engagement
  • Funding bid support
  • Supported visits to other similar projects

Chichester District Council employs a dedicated Community-led Housing Officer who will be able to support them through the whole process. It has also set up a Community Led Housing Forum to provide training, networking and information sharing.

Direct Support Grant (up to £2,000)

The Early Support Grant is available for groups that are exploring the possibility of starting a CLH organisation. It can be used to cover a variety of cost including: membership to national CLH support organisations, public consultation, draft architectural plans, publicity leaflet, media adverts, etc.

Business Development Grant (up to £10,000)

The Business Development Grant is available to groups that have assessed the need of a CLH organisation and found it to be viable. This grant is used to assist Community Led Housing Groups to understand the process of becoming an incorporated organisation and the responsibilities upon them. It is often during this period that organisations need guidance and support to deal with many issues such as choosing a suitable legal form, taking on roles within an organisation, training, realising their vision on paper as a project plan, working with the wider community, identifying land and working out outline viability and project costs and establishing partnerships. Without this early support, groups can dwindle and fall away. This is time intensive work and requires a consistent, experienced and professional approach.

Feasibility and Technical Consultancy Grant (up to £30,000)

Once a site has been identified and ownership has been secured through transfer, purchase or options agreement we can support a CLH organisation prepare for their planning application. This grant can be used to pay for architects fees, legal fees, business modelling, land surveys, transport surveys, project management and the cost of planning application.

Land Purchase Grant (up to (£10,000 per housing unit)

We also offer a grant to help with the capital costs of the project offering up to £10,000 for each unit of affordable housing built.


This is to be complemented with a national fund of £60 million every year for 3 years to be distributed by Homes England directly to CLH organisations.

Further grant is accessible through Chichester District Council in the form of commuted sums, these are funds received by developers to use towards enabling affordable housing. The communed sums could be made available towards the land and development costs of additional affordable housing units. In addition to this funding the council is looking to develop a loan fund to help cover and attract in development finance.