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About Otherwise Living

Our vision

We set up Otherwise Living to address some of the social, economic and environmental inequalities that are affecting many inner London boroughs and that have been identified as priorities for improvement by local government.


We believe in social cohesion and in cleaner, greener and safer neighbourhoods. We want to be part of a community that is supportive, inclusive and responsive to the needs of all those living in it, a neighbourhood that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable within a highly urbanised setting.

Our vision is to create small footprint living that makes a difference to people and makes an impact on our environment.

Our organisation

Otherwise Living was established in 2012 as a multi-stakeholder co-operative and has since also become a Community Land Trust. The management team chose this particular model because it allows different stakeholders to invest in and have a voice in the overall running of the organisation within a democratic co-operative framework. Membership is open to all users as well as non-user investors and all members have voting rights. It is run by a democratically elected board as a not-for-profit organisation accountable to its membership, rules and statutes. It is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Our policies

Otherwise Living has written policies required by law and these are:

Health and Safety Statement

Data Protection Policy and Procedures

Equality and Diversity Policy

Who we are

Great things are achieved through team-work and we believe that we have a better chance of achieving our aims and goals together. Otherwise Living members have lived, worked and been involved in community building activities and local enterprise initiatives within central London for many years. Our management committee is looking to expand its membership in the near future.


Our current team is:

Leslie Barson - With over 30 years of experience in property management, Leslie is widely published and speaks internationally about education, housing and sustainability. Leslie founded The Otherwise Club in 1993, a community centre in Central London for home educating families, co-founded Granville Community Kitchen, and continues to be actively involved in both.

Sian Fletcher - Sian has worked in finance for various organisations, including development finance for a housing association and financial controller for one of the UK's largest Citizens’ Advice Bureau. She currently works part time for a community centre in south London and has a counselling private practice. She has been an active member of The Otherwise Club whilst working part-time, she home educated her daughter.

Jane Hickson - Jane is a self-employed Manual Lymphatic Drainage and massage therapist, tutor in exercise and pregnancy massage and examiner for aromatherapy training. She has a background in administration and has served on many committees as well as having extensive experience in managing volunteers, coordinating workshops and activities for events.

Deirdre (Dee) Woods - Dee is a food and farming action-ist who advocates for good food for all and a just, equitable food system, challenging the systemic barriers that impact marginalised communities and food producers. Her work meets at the nexus of poverty and hunger, human rights, food sovereignty, community development, policy, research, climate and social justice.

Dee is co-founder of Granville Community Kitchen in South Kilburn. A previous BBC Food and Farming Awards winner, Dee sits on the GLA London Food Board, the steering group of People Food Power and is a co-editor of A People's Food Policy. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University, member of the Food Ethics Council and the coordinating group of the Landworkers Alliance, co-chair of the Independent Food Aid Network and Trustee of Sustain. Dee is a founding member of the Global Solidarity Alliance for Food, Health and Social Justice and co-founder of the African Caribbean Heritage Food Network.

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