HRH Co-op - Walk for Homes

by Hastings Rental Health Housing Co-op in Saint Leonards-on-sea, East Sussex, United Kingdom

Total raised £16,835

raised so far



We are a group of community members who want to make affordable, secure, long term, community led housing in Hastings a new normal.

by Hastings Rental Health Housing Co-op in Saint Leonards-on-sea, East Sussex, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 13th September 2023 we'd raised £15,905 with 282 supporters in 35 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

Anything beyond our intial target will go towards a deposit for a mortgage on a property or piece of land.



Our aim is to bring Gensing Manor, an unused and vacant building in Hastings into community ownership, tackling the housing crisis by creating affordable, secure homes for people without access to other support. As a newly formed co-operative we need to develop a robust proposal which will allow us to buy and repurpose empty properties or land in Hastings, and create a template for future community groups to do the same locally and throughout the UK. 

To make this happen and to highlight the on-going housing crisis and insecurity of renting, one of our founder members Sarah Gomes Harris is traversing the country on foot while wearing a handmade Rental Health house. She has already run the Hastings Half Marathon to raise funds for us to register as a co-op. 


Now she is donning the same house and walking this time. Throughout August our Housegirl will go from co-op to co-op in towns and cities from the South coast to the Yorkshire Pennies with a short stop at the Radical Routes Co-ops Network Summer Gathering. This will be an information gathering mission as well as an opportunity to galvanise support and have conversations with all those she encounters along the way. Unable to stop working during this endeavour she will also be storyboarding for a new animation in the evenings as she still needs to pay her rent back in Hastings.


'People like you don't create housing co-ops.' This is what we were told when we first started talking about co-ops. So of course, we started one! 

Co-founded by Sarah Gomes Harris and Nichelle Kelleher in 2022, Hastings Rental Health Housing Co-op sprung up from working class and global majority members, with the aim to create a housing co-op that provides solutions to people most in need.


Despite our precarity as renters, often never having lived in one place for longer than three years, we still give our time to grassroots organising and supporting local people who have been forced into similar insecurity through rising rents and the cost of living crisis. 


Our co-op believes in the power of community and mutual aid and recognises there is no mental health without housing security. Its members share the same values and already support each other and contribute to other local community groups, including St Leonard’s Cycle Club, Women’s Voice, the Refugee Buddy Project, Transition Town and community food growing project Joyful Roots. Our members include a volunteer therapist in a local substance misuse service, community gardeners, a yoga therapist, environmental campaigners, community arts organisers and the initiator of a traders guild which supports long term traders and family businesses from developers and commercial rent hikes.


In being housed securely, we can do our community organising work more effectively, which then creates more community organising. It has a multiplying effect. 


We will create 22 new homes in and around Gensing Manor or similar property with a combination of renovation and siting environmentally friendly modular housing units on the surrounding land. The cooperative will work with local architects and engineers to create energy efficient homes promoting sustainable living practices within the town. 

“We are committed to working together to create a healthy living environment where our members can thrive and continue to serve our community, a model that can pave the way for future housing cooperatives in Hastings. With secure housing we could continue and build on the work we already do and could recruit and help more members in need of support,” says Sarah Gomes Harris, HRH co-founder.

We have engaged with local residents, and community organisations to understand the specific housing needs and challenges in Hastings. Working class, low-income and migrant communities of Hastings have suffered from generational disadvantage, now compounded by the post-pandemic recession and ongoing economic shocks. The knock-on effect to mental and physical health is causing unnecessary harm and destabilisation. Hasting Rental Health Co-op will contribute to a more equitable and inclusive housing market in Hastings and have a positive and lasting impact on the individuals and families, the wider community, and the environment in Hastings and East Sussex.




We are dreaming big because this is a big issue and want to create a sustainable model which will bring unused land and buildings into community ownership in perpetuity.


Anything we raise from your individual contributions will go towards the development and planning of a robust business and financial plan, on-going consultation with the local community, and, if we go beyond our target, towards the deposit of the property and/or piece of land. Our initial target will include: 

Fee for business and financial planning support from Community Led Housing/Catalyst and Co-ops UK £3,500

Time for members to develop and implement the business and organisational plan for renovation of property £3,000

Training, Capacity and group building £1,500

Community festival, events and on-going consultation £2,000

 Our stretch target is £390,000 which is the amount we need for a deposit to secure a mortgage on Gensing Manor or a similar property. Any contributions you make big or small will go towards making this happen. Please donate!


This project offered rewards

£300 or more

Have your portrait taken by photographer JJ Waller

Have a family or personal portrait taken by photographer JJ Waller. You will receive a print of your choice from the shoot up to 900 x 900mm. Note this reward is only for people in the Hastings and St Leonards area.

£10 or more

Massive thanks

A huge thank you on the Hastings Rental Health Housing Co-op website.

£30 or more

Massive thanks and a HRH Badge

You will be sent a handmade HRH badge and we will add your name to the amazing list of supporters on our website.

£40 or more

Massive thanks and a HRH Upcycled tote bag

We will send you a bespoke up cycled Hastings Rental Health tote bag and add you to the amazing list of supporters on our website.

£50 or more

Massive thanks and a handmade ceramic HRH Key tray

We will send you a handmade Hasting Rental Health Housing key tray. The perfect house shaped ceramic to toss your keys in at the end of a long day. We'll also add you to our list of amazing supporters on our website.

£160 or more

A limited edition print by artist, Narbi Price

Take home an atmospheric print by artist Narbi Price, Lovelocks 2, A4 lithograph on paper, 2023. Unframed

£200 or more

Massive thanks and a one to one yoga session

You will entitled to a one to one yoga session with Karen Simnett of Yoga By The Sea or alternatively, attendance to 3 free yoga classes on her weekly schedule.

£50 or more

Massive thanks and HRH T-shirt

We will send you a bespoke hand printed Hasting Rental Health Housing Co-op T-Shirt and add you to the list of amazing people who are supporting us on the website. Please let us know your size.

£50 or more

A cup and saucer handmade by artist Carla Wright

Help yourself to a lovely cup of tea from this stylish functional ceramic cup and saucer made and donated by artist Carla Wright.

£60 or more

A house for your home by artist Scott Garrett

Take home a striking Cabin Print by artist Scott Garrett. Various colours available

£60 or more

A unique screen print by artist Colden Drystone

Take home this contemporary one off screen print by artist Colden Drystone. It's not the South! 84 x 60cm

£75 or more

'Country Estate Part 2' print by Vanessa Farinha

A fictional council estate building made up of pieces of royal and government buildings . Digital collage, Giclee print. Approx 35 x 43cm

£80 or more

A limited edition print by artist Jude Montague

A beautiful little print (50 x 35cm) created and donated by artist Jude Montague. Perfect for any home. See image in recent update or contact us.

£80 or more

'Bean' painting by Katherine Reekie

Take home a surreal, atmospheric painting by artist Katherine Reekie, 'Bean', acrylic on board, with frame 24 x 19cm.

£95 or more

A limited edition print by artist Elizabeth Power

Take home a beautiful, striking and colourful limited edition A3 print created and donated by artist Elizabeth Power. Image dependant on availability.

£150 or more

Alley Cat artwork by artist Dave Reading

Every home needs a pet, adopt an Alley Cat, acrylic on plywood, 54 x 50cm created and donated by artist Dave Reading.

£300 or more

A Sarah and Duck drawing

Take home your very own Sarah and Duck drawing by artist, creator and long distance walker Sarah Gomes Harris featuring her famous television characters.

£300 or more

One word drawing of the word HOME

A unique drawing made by artist, Anne-Marie Watson. She will write the word home over and over again in a colour of your choice.

£700 or more

Portrait by artist Robert Sample

Have your portrait painted by figurative painter Robert Sample. Combining both traditional and contemporary methods using oil paint and other mediums. 59x84cm. See Roberts work here: Note this reward will require a visit to Robert's studio in St Leonards.

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