About Stokes Croft Land Trust

Our mission at the Stokes Croft Land Trust is to acquire and steward buildings and property in Stokes Croft, with and on behalf of the local community, for the long term.

We are a community benefit society (registration number 7004) with exempt charitable status from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which has been created as a grassroots institution, governed and run democratically by its members (local people) to acquire and steward buildings and property in Stokes Croft on behalf of the local community for the long term.

Our goal is to take land out of the speculative capital investment market, and into secure community ownership, thereby enabling long-term affordable and sustainable local development, putting the control of local areas back into the hands of local people.

On a local level, this share offer will allow the Stokes Croft Land Trust to purchase the freehold tenure of its first building and thereafter, to plan a longer-term programme of improvements to the building in partnership with the tenant PRSC. The Stokes Croft Land Trust will be off the starting blocks and at the same time securing PRSC’s license to occupy and develop the building’s space and facilities for its range of cultural, artistic and campaigning activities and events.

In the longer term, the Stokes Croft Land Trust plans to negotiate stewardship of all the buildings that PRSC now uses or has an interest in and intends to convey the buildings and property into the Stokes Croft Land Trust ownership, subject to feasibility and viability assessments at the appropriate time. 

The Stokes Croft Land Trust is also aware of other opportunities to acquire premises within the Stokes Croft Conservation Area, which are not occupied by PRSC, and has already engaged with some local business owners whose premises could be secured into community ownership should they proceed to sell them. 

SCLT Board

Keith Cowling

Keith is a former architect with 35 years’ experience as a community architect and social entrepreneur. He founded Eyehouse Consultancy, specialising in the engagement of non-professionals with the built environment and the involvement of communities in the design and management of their neighbourhoods.

During the decade from 2000 to 2010 Keith carried out a number of town and neighbourhood studies, wrote area regeneration strategies and developed a range of business cases, business plans and project frameworks for community-led capital projects, working for his previous company Insight 02 Ltd. He developed a range of consultation processes and techniques aimed at helping service providers understand the needs and aspirations of their users and client groups and used them to run a range of consultation programmes.

Keith has a particular interest in community-led capital projects and the management of community assets and has a broad experience of urban and rural regeneration policies and community-based interventions in local economies. He was chair of the Bristol Community Land Trust from 2011 until 2020 and is a director of The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft CIC.

Lucas Batt

Lucas is a community engagement and independent media consultant with over eight years experience pioneering community-driven local media. He previously led on membership and community engagement at the Bristol Cable, a community-owned Bristol newspaper, which was based in the top of 14 Hillgrove Street from 2014 to 2020. Lucas joined the Cable in 2015 following the completion of a Philosophy degree at the University of Bristol. In his 7.5 years at the Cable, Lucas helped take the organisation from a voluntary start-up into a professional and established community organisation. As well as working on membership and community engagement, Lucas worked across the cooperative, including leading on HR and fundraising.

Lucas now works with media organisations across Europe to help them address their sustainability challenges, and better understand and involve their communities. He is a coordinator of the Reference Circle, a network of European independent public interest media.

Hilary Sudbury  (Co-opted)

Experienced Co-operative and Social Enterprise Adviser since 1996 supporting incorporations, governance, raising finance & business planning. A Community Led Homes (CLH) Accredited Advisor – 2019; Fully Licensed Community Shares Practitioner – 2015; Co-operative and Social Enterprise Adviser Accreditation – 2004; SFedi Business Support plus Social Enterprise Standards Accreditation – 2008 & 2010.

Chandra Wilby (Co-opted)

Chandra Wilby has a PG Degree in Vol Sector Management and more than thirty years experience in development and training work primarily in Bristol inner city. She set up and ran her own successful management consultancy and mentoring service supporting a diverse range of local ethnic minority and womens’ organisations until her retirement. Having lived and worked in the area for many years, Chandra is keen to support SCLT achieve its aims.

Russell Vaught

Russell is managing director of a construction and property management business, lives and works in Stokes Croft, and is passionately committed to seeing the area thrive to the benefit of all in the community. After a successful career in music, TV and digital media, Russell worked in strategy and corporate partnerships for nonprofits including Age UK and Keep Britain Tidy. Russell has acted as a pro bono advocate in housing and homelessness cases in London and Bristol, holds degrees in business management and law, and is a non-practising barrister.

Neil Gokani (Co-opted)

Neil is an NHS Physiotherapist working for Sirona and is a staff member of the board of Sirona Care and Health CIC. He has worked in the NHS for 19 years. He lives in Bristol and serves the local community here in the heart of Bristol. He is passionate about supporting long-term affordable and sustainable local development and as a member of the local community he feels excited to be involved in the development of SCLT.

Theo Cox

Theo has spent his career in the nonprofit sector as a consultant and researcher, bringing experience in alternative governance and participatory strategy, facilitation and grant writing. He has worked with a variety of organisations ranging from major charities to the UK Government and European Commission.

Theo is currently a Senior Expert in the Emancipatory Economy team at Demos Helsinki, one of Europe’s leading progressive think-tanks, where he works developing the foundations of a new economy. He has previously conducted research on cooperatives, and economic democracy continues to be a major area of professional interest. He holds a first class degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford, and an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics.

Deasy Bamford

I’m a local, have lots of contacts across the city especially in community organising and diversity in the arts.   I have a deep interest in community owned land and property and am keen to see how there can be more trusts that really serve the community.  I want to represent the local and community interest. I am not a property owner, I live in social housing and often find that we are less represented in Boards and decision making panels.  I am often a bridge between different communities, having spent my working life living and breathing diversity in arts and community. 

Fidel Meraz

I am an architect by training, teaching in higher  architectural education. I am very interested in meaningful land and buildings to remain or become places for the community. I am currently also trustee for Trinity Community Arts and have gained experience looking for its historical building remaining in the community and operating as a charity that brings arts to create future opportunities. At the moment we are also campaigning to avoid other community historic buildings in Bristol going to the private sector.  I am also committed with SCLT project and have been a supporting member from the start.


Sue Kilroe

The PRSC crew are wholeheartedly delighted to have SCLT as our landlords and wish the Trust a great future. Within PRSC my primary role is to run Stokes Croft China shop and on line sales, additionally I am a board member. I greatly value the creativity and community facing work of PRSC.  It is a small CSI and like all such independent businesses, facing real challenge. The next months will be critical as we work to radically change how we run. My commitment will be to this project and to keeping SCLT informed and engaged. 

My path to PRSC isn’t straightforward, but for me it is very interesting.  I live in Stokes Croft. For 30 years I have watched this neighbourhood first benefit and now being threatened by the forces of gentrification.  I welcome SCLT action to counter this harm.  My dual career, teaching public policy at Bristol Uni and working as a mental health nurse, seems to have prepared me well to understand the context of the work we do.  On retiring l have become an ‘aged activist’ campaigning for the NHS, against TTIP and on Climate all of which has been enabled by PRSC and it’s crew. 

Additionally I have a life long belief in the benefits of Trusts. My Irish family sold the Irish Times to itself into a Trust, with the result it still runs as an astonishingly good newspaper free of the pressured of greedy media moguls. I would hope that my grand children will watch SCLT and PRSC bring lasting benefit to this, their community.