Anyone fancy co-housing?

January 30 2017

Bishopston resident Naomi Gillingham has been involved in co-housing groups in Bristol, Frome, Dorset and Somerset for over a decade. The GP and teacher is now keen to find out the level of interest in a small urban co-housing scheme in Bristol for active people aged around 50-70 years old.

Bishopston resident Naomi Gillingham has been involved in co-housing groups in Bristol, Frome, Dorset and Somerset for over a decade. The GP and teacher is now keen to find out the level of interest in a small urban co-housing scheme in Bristol for active people aged around 50-70 years old. 

Naomi said: “Choose before you are chosen for - this is often a motto for co-housers. This a friendly, supportive, community based way of living which is good for the individuals, their descendents and for society as people can significantly reduce their carbon footprint by sharing space. 

“Usually communities eat together once or twice a week in a common larger space sharing communal tasks by offering 4-6 hours work per week. There is a democratic ethos of sharing cars, a workshop, guest rooms and laundry whilst each having a private flat of your own, so it is not a commune.” 

Noami would like to find a core group of 4-10 compatible active people who share this common goal and who have some funds to pool in order to be able to buy a larger property to divide into flats, preferably with some outdoor space. 

Co-housing is a way of living in a shared community but keeping your own private front door. Communities are created and the house is run by all residents democratically sharing the community tasks, decisions, and giving 4-8 hours a week to communal jobs.

In Holland, Scandinavia and the USA this idea was around four decades ago and has been popular especially with retirees who generally have the energy, and funds from downsizing, and wish to live out their later years without the usual isolation and loneliness many experience today.

In the UK there are many successful co-housing communities such as the Threshold Centre in Dorset where about 20 individuals, aged between 40-70 years, live in cottages on a shared community site. The UK Cohousing Network’s website cohousing.org.uk gives a good explanation of schemes nationwide and how to set up your own.

Naomi added: “Many schemes have struggled in the early years to find suitable land or properties to develop. This often comes down to having enough pooled funds to be able to move fast when a suitable project arises, especially in an active urban housing market. I am hoping to find out if there is significant interest in looking for such a property within urban Bristol.”

If you are interested in this idea join Naomi at a meeting to find out more about co-housing on Wednesday, February 8 at 7pm. Call 0117 908 2552 or email naomi.gillingham@blueyonder.co.uk for further details.