We wish to be a small co-operative, sustainable co-housing community. We will share the ethos of home education, living healthily and ecologically and will establish our community based around these three principles. Our aim is to create a respectful and loving environment which will enable children, young people and adults to live in harmony, and honour each other, all beings and the earth. The community will be multi-generational and provide a safe haven from the cradle to the grave. There is no other community of this type focusing on home education. As a group, we have explored other community living options in the South West and concluded that in order to have the combination of vision, values and location we would all prefer, a new community is required.
- To provide suitable accommodation for our intentional cohousing community
- To provide a safe yet stimulating environment, which supports Home Education as well as frameworks in which, children can learn and thrive
- To live in as sustainable way as possible.
- To explore ways to lessen our impact on the environment
- To explore what good health and wellbeing means for our embers, and to allow them to live accordingly
What will we do first?
We will purchase a suitable property where we can each realise our aspirations for our children to be home educated in a supportive setting. Our individual family homes will be part of the greater North Devon Cohousing Community village, providing a safe, sustainable and nurturing space within which our children and our wider community will flourish. We will provide spaces for play, games, sport, creative activities, group activities, music making, drama, dance and quiet contemplation and meditation. Our company structure and legal framework ensure that the community is created upon sound principles and that there is clarity for members in all areas. We will develop a five year strategy, annual business plans and budgets. We will create policies, protocols and guidelines, which will address every area that is needed to live together harmoniously in community. We will all have shared responsibility for the safe and healthy continuation of the community and will have agreed individual responsibilities depending upon our strengths and areas of expertise. We will introduce a decision-making process suitable to our community.
The company will be self supporting (in it’s core operation), with the cost of owning and running the property met by members’ capital investments, rent, standing charge, and combinations of these.
We intend to achieve this by the end of 2017.
...in the first two years?
- We will expand our community, to enable people to live in existing property and explore the potential for self-builds and start to develop them. At this stage, we envisage being a small community with a maximum of around 10 adults and 10 children in total.
- We will identify the capacity possible for community size and the potential for building (or converting) space for community activities. As part of this, we intend to develop a central focal space (the Village Square), children’s play areas and a gathering place on the land, including a fire pit.
- We will establish appropriate community businesses based upon the property itself and the talents and interests of community members.
- We will learn from and play in nature. We will encourage our children and ourselves to explore our new environment, and learn about how the world works through gardening, rowing our own food, land management, environmental science and nature.
- We will strive to live lightly on the land, applying both ancient techniques and modern technology to best effect. We will assess and evaluate the possibilities presented by our new home. We will then develop our plan to live as self-sufficiently and healthily as possible n relation to food, energy and services. Where possible we will seek external funding to support these measures.
- We will establish a communal understanding about healthy living and wellbeing and agree how we as a community wish to progress this in our everyday lives.
- We will develop and establish a wellbeing support system for members of the community, and will ensure that community members gain an understanding of how to communicate compassionately with each other and how to manage conflicts, which will inevitably arise from time to time.
- We will forge friendships and relationships with each other and with our local communities, and hope to provide added value to the locality.
- We will build links with others who support and share our vision, such as UK Cohousing and other communities.
- We will evaluate the progress of our community project holistically, against our business plan, project goals and qualitative feedback from individuals and families.
...in the first five years?
- We will establish our community and evaluate its’ success in relation to our Business Plan, our Vision, our Values and our future resilience and sustainability.
- We will review the effectiveness of our policies and procedures and adapted them accordingly, (for example whether our joining and leaving policies are meeting our needs).
- We will develop our community businesses and be offering the opportunity to join us for groups, courses, workshops and retreats based upon members’ expertise and interests, and our experience of being connected to the land. We will share our experience with others, including what we have learned from setting up a new community.
- We will begin our programme of building (or converting) living and community spaces.
- We will further evaluate and develop the provision we make for children to be at the centre of our community. We will seek funding where possible to meet the needs of our children.
- We wish to develop a resource hub for home educating families in our area, hosting regular events in our community space and on our land. We wish to explore the establishment of a Forest School on the land.
- We will continue to learn and grow from the challenges of living in a community, and form strong friendships, love and respect for each other and our differences. We will have established a practice of Compassionate Communication with each other.
- We will implement the measures to improve our impact on the environment. We will continue to maintain and improve the systems as advised, and seek further improvements.
- We will establish our vegetable and fruit growing areas and made plans for long term management of the land as a whole.
- We will have worked very hard and had fun, laugher and play along the way!