What is cohousing?
Cohousing communities are intentional communities. They are created and run by their residents. Each household has a self-contained, personal and private home but residents come together to manage their community, share activities, eat together. Cohousing is a way of combating the alienation and isolation many experience today, recreating the neighbourly support of the past. This can happen anywhere, in your street or starting a new community using empty homes or building new. For more information look at the UK Cohousing Network website: http://www.cohousing.org.uk/
Who is involved in MUCH?
MUCH is for people over 50. The current members are in their 60s and 70s, some are working and some retired from paid work. As of January 2020 there are 10 members, from 8 households, and we hope to develop a community with around 15 to 20 units, and 18 to 30 people. We are all busy people, active in the community, with a wide range of interests and hobbies. We share a commitment to the vision and values of the organisation. In our vision and values statement you will find more detail which will provide a basis for exploring with the group whether this is for you.
What are the MUCH members like?
Before joining MUCH you will have opportunities to meet and talk to the existing members in a number of ways. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we may not be able to meet with you in person, but are able to meet virtually. We hope this will enable you to decide whether we are people you can live and work with, as well as understanding the project itself.
How much will properties cost?
We are currently in the process of updating our cost model. The purchase price of flats will vary according to the price of land, and how we divide the costs of the shared facilities, as well as the size of the property.
What will the shared facilities be?
We aim to build into the development a shared function room with kitchen, a laundry and drying area, storage, conservatory, 2 guest bedrooms and a shared garden. We aim to manage and use these in ways which develop our intentional community, keep us in control and keep the costs down.
How much will it cost to join?
Each individual member currently contributes £100 to the running of the organisation. This is non- returnable and further contributions will be agreed by the whole group when we need more. Potential purchasers have also contributed to a development fund which initially provides match funding for a grant from Homes England. At some point potential purchasers will need to put a significant deposit down for their property
Will there be any properties to let or for shared ownership?
We are keen to make the opportunity to live in MUCH available to people from different circumstances. There is the potential for both properties to let and shared ownership if people who want these options join the group. If this is you do talk to us.
Will I be able to live at MUCH if I am disabled or ill?
MUCH will be an intentional community, designed to keep us happier and healthier as we age so we can stay living there. The shared facilities and contact we will have in running the cohousing will keep us in touch with each other, so we will know if someone needs neighbourly help. The development will not provide any additional care for residents. However if we need more help to lead our lives we hope to support each other in getting the right solution, to enable us to stay at home and live a fuller old age. We would encourage anyone over 50 who currently lives independently in the community to consider MUCH as a housing option.
What are the commitments of joining? What will I be expected to do?
All MUCH members are expected to attend the monthly General Meetings at which decisions about developing the project are made by consensus. To learn how to take part in consensus decision making new members will be expected to take part in a short course at their own expense. Existing members are learning to make decisions in this way, it is different from most people’s experience and needs practice, so you will join us on the journey. All MUCH members will become equally responsible for the development, and the appropriate legal structure required to run it, once it is is established. As well as monthly meetings all members are expected to take part in one or more of the working groups which meet between General Meetings to develop aspects of the project, such as the business plan, communicating with partners, developing our understanding of building and living sustainably. At present all General Meetings are held virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions, and working group meetings take place in accordance with Covid-19 restrictions. Finally, in normal times we have a shared lunch during or after General Meetings, so to get to know each other better and prepare for living in an intentional community. An outline of the main responsibilities and commitments as a member of MUCH are outlined below.
Where will MUCH be?
We want to live in South Manchester, where most of us currently live. We haven’t found a suitable site yet, and making the decision about a site will be a major milestone for us.
Our current commitment as a member of MUCH (as agreed at MUCH General Meeting. Jan. 2014)
“Manchester Urban Co-Housing (MUCH) Members will:
- Commit to the Vision and Values of MUCH
- Actively contribute to the work of MUCH, with the expectation of spending approximately 2 hours per week. (This work includes progressing the priorities agreed at the General Meeting, including involvement in agreed working groups, and personal learning and development to contribute to the project.)
- Make a financial contribution to the running of MUCH, as agreed by the General Meeting. This is currently £100 per person and is non-returnable
- Contribute to making decisions by consensus at the General Meetings
- New members will be expected to take part in training in consensus decision making”