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Home > Housing > Community Housing > Community Led Housing and Self build - Training Courses

Community Led Housing and Self build - Training Courses

A wide range of courses and training are available for anyone embarking on a Community-Led Housing or self-build project.

Here at Dover District Council we usually provide at least one free training session per month on a range of topics to help anyone interested in community-led housing or self-build. These sessions are open to all, but spaces are limited and pre booking is required. 

We have postponed our training courses until further notice, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Many expert organisations also offer courses, some of which are subsidised or free of charge. For courses where there is a charge, the DDC Community Housing Grants Scheme can provide funding if the intended project will provide community led affordable housing in the district.

We want to hear from you if there is any training you would like us to arrange, or if there is any information about a course which you would like to share with other groups who are looking to deliver community-led housing. Contact our Community Housing team at 

Free training courses provided by DDC

Courses and events offered by external organisations


 My Community Logo


Two great step by step guides for those interested in developing Community Led Housing. 

Community-led Housing: Toolkit 1 - Getting your community-led housing project up and running.

This is a guide for groups who are considering a particular community-led housing project and looking for practical advice on how to progress it. It can be used by new groups starting a project from scratch or by existing community groups branching out into community-led housing (CLH).

Community-led Housing: Toolkit 2- How to tackle community-led housing project

This is a guide for groups who have decided to develop a community-led housing project and are looking for practical advice on how to plan it. It can be used by newly established groups, or by existing community groups interested in branching out into the delivery of a community-led housing project.

Use it to help you with planning the detail of your project, but because all projects are different, the advice contained in this guide won’t be definitive. There will be times when you will need to seek further advice or make a judgment about something. That’s part and parcel of a community led housing project.




National Self Build and Renovation Centre Logo

The Self Build Course

Covering 11 topics in total, this informal workshop make use of the superb practical exhibits available in the Centre to provide attendees with a level of knowledge which guarantees their projects will go more smoothly.

The Self Build Course Dates

Cost: £395

 Day 1

Budgeting & Finance
This first session is dedicated to methods of raising finance and the importance of setting a budget and controlling costs throughout the project.

Finding & Evaluating Land
Finding a building plot is never easy, but there are ways and means to find that elusive dream plot.

Design & Specification
This session will look at how to get the best design for your dream home.

Building Systems & Construction Methods
We’ll take you on a comprehensive tour of the build process, covering everything from clearing and setting up your site, laying the foundations and options for building the superstructure and roof.N

Day 2

Planning Permission & Permitted Development
Our Planning expert will explain the intricacies of the planning process and how you can optimise your chances of getting approval for your dream home.

Building Regulations
We’ll explain about building control procedures and the importance of building regulations.

Trades, Contracts & Tendering
We’ll discuss the best way to find tradesmen, the trades you’ll be hiring, when you’ll need them and what they do.

Project Management & Site Set Up
Starting with the basic principles of managing the people involved in your build, through to budgets, basic contracting techniques, buying materials and site management.

Day 3

Eco Legislation
Our eco expert shows you how to lessen the impact your project could have on the environment; he looks at the incentives available and drivers for using various eco technologies, comparative fuel costs and helps you understand how to calculate the payback terms. He’ll also consider the latest legislative requirements of Passive House, SAP ratings, FITs & RHI and other potential incentives.

Eco Design, Planning & Management
We will look at the different elements of the building to make sure they are designed, specified and installed to maximise their potential.

Internal Services:
An Eco Slant Our eco expert will discuss the usage of low-tech eco options in your new home.

 Passivhaus Workshop

Passivhaus Workshop in Partnership with Passivhaus Trust

When: Friday May 21st - Sat May 22nd 2021

Where: Online Zoom event or attend in person at the National Self Build and Renovation Center

Cost: Free

The Passivhaus standard is designed to deliver comfort, quality and lower running costs, in any type of building. We spend most of our time indoors, so buildings play an important part in our health and wellbeing.

The most successful and cost-effective way of achieving Passivhaus is by incorporating the standard before your designs are complete. It’s also useful if the Passivhaus elements are included in your planning application.

Take advantage of this free workshop and ensure you have the right team behind you for your Passivhaus home.

This workshop will offer a full timetable of talks & webinars, question time sessions and live guided tours from the NSBRC across various platforms.

The National Self Build & Renovation Show


The National Self-Build and Renovation Centre is holding a National Self Build & Renovation Show on:  

 These events feature an excellent line up of exhibitors and experts on hand to share their advice. This is an unmissable event for anyone thinking of self-building or renovating their home.  

For Free tickets book online in advance, otherwise £12.00 per person on the door. 

The NSBRC is located on junction 16 of the M4. Parking is plentiful and free!  

Special measures will be put in place to ensure the centre and show safeguard visitors, exhibitors and staff. NSBRC are working hard to ensure they comply with current guidelines and as such this show will be a little different from previous events. Additional measures will be implemented for the safety of all. 

Potton Self-Build Academy

 20 Ways to Find a Plot

When: Tuesday April 13th 7:30-8:30pm

Where: Online

Like many things in life if you are organised, efficient and consistent in your efforts you will at some point get “lucky” and find a great plot to build on. This webinar will identify all the different things you should be doing to find a plot and help you identify those that are most likely to bring success.

This webinar will you help you begin your journey and enable you to start plot hunting in an effective manner.

Assessing Planning Potential

When: Tuesday April 20, 2021 7:30-8:30pm

Where: Online

Once you’ve found a viable plot of land but before you’ve secured it. It’s time to start working out what we might be able to get planning permission for. This will depend on many factors including the nature of any adjacent properties, whether it’s within a settlement or in open countryside, a conservation area or area of outstanding natural beauty. Before we start work or even take on any new project we always make an assessment of the site’s planning potential.

This webinar will outline what we’re looking to confirm and is ideal for anyone who thinks they’ve just found or is still hunting for that perfect plot

Energy Efficiency:The Basics

When: Tuesday April 27, 2021 7:30-8:30pm

Where: Online

Almost all of our customers are interested in making their new home more energy efficient than the minimum standard required by the Building Regulations. Almost all of the houses we design improve on the regulations by at least 10% and most by much more.

In this session we’ll discuss the factors that influence how energy efficient your new property will be and explain how best to improve performance. This webinar will be useful for everyone who has yet to begin the design of their new home.

Self Build Myths Busted

When: Tuesday May 4th, 2021 7:30-8:30pm

Where: Online

Think you already know a few things about self building? In this session we will debunk the 15 commonest misconceptions about self build including “It’s better to buy from a developer”, “Do I really have to do everything myself”, “It’s only for the rich” and “You can’t get a mortgage”. Join us so we can address these myths and help propel your build forward.

This session is ideal for those at the very start of their self build journey who are still trying to work out if self build is right for them.



There is a YouTube video available from Potton Self-Build academy which provides the an overview of the Introduction to Self-Build and Finding Land. 

Past DDC courses


Writing 'winning' Funding Applications

This course looked at the opportunities for raising money from the more than 4,000 grant making trusts and foundations in the UK. As competition for funding becomes greater, organisations need to ensure that they maximise their chances of success by preparing the type of applications that funders want to see. This course covered the most difficult questions that funders ask and how to research and prepare compelling answers. The sessions were led by Kathy Roddy from Medway Voluntary Action. 

Community-led housing groups are reminded that their training costs and travel expenses to attend courses run by external groups, may be covered the DDC Community Housing Grants Scheme - for further details see the Community Housing Grants Scheme page.


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