By Daniel Hunter

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has invited Londoners to apply for a share of an £8m fund aimed at putting design and architectural excellence at the heart of community building projects.

Under Build Your Own Home — the London Way Londoners can now apply for loans or grants from the Government’s ‘Custom Build’ or ‘Community Right to Build’ schemes, which will enable them to develop new and innovatively designed homes or community facilities.

The Mayor is particularly keen to hear from Londoners who can demonstrate how delivering their proposals might help to bring jobs, training or other employment opportunities, such as apprenticeships for young people.

The Mayor, who has already introduced a design guide for new homes as part of his London Plan, has enlisted the help of leading London architects and designers who have offered to help successful applicants refine their ideas into projects which will improve the capital’s neighbourhoods and make them better places to live, work and invest in.

Ben Derbyshire, managing director of awarding winning architects HTA; Peter Murray, architect and chairman of New London Architecture; David Birkbeck, chief executive Design for Homes and Tamsie Thomson, director at the Royal Institute of British Architects, are all lending their expertise to the initiative, helping successful bidders to bring their ideas to fruition through specialist design review sessions.

“From grand Georgian squares to the Brutalist developments of modernity, London’s unique architecture has played a key role in making this city a fantastic place to live, work and invest in," the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said.

"As we seek to establish a new vernacular for our capital in the 21st century, this project will put Londoners themselves right at the heart of the creative process. Whether it’s new self-build homes or a much needed community facility, we want to see really innovative ideas coming forward. With the help of the top industry experts we have on board, there’s never been a better opportunity to help shape the neighbourhood in which you live.”

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: "We are witnessing a self-build surge in this country, with more people than ever looking to construct their own home or get behind the building of new community facilities. The custom build scheme and Community Right to Build are great opportunities for people across London to be in the driving seat in delivering the homes, shops and facilities their neighbourhood needs.

"The funding and advice being offered will provide a big boost to people eager to bring about change and I would urge all Londoners to make use of the funds and support to ensure their community has the best chance to thrive in the future."

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