Cohousing – a year for LoCo

November 2, 2013 12:46 am

From ‘dreamers’ to ‘diggers’

Earlier in 2013, LoCo (now Cannock Mill Cohousing) held an Annual General Meeting to deal with several items of formal business as a company limited by guarantee. It was a time for reflection on the previous year’s activity.

The chair, Sue, reported that it had been a busy year, with much learning and many achievements, all carried out with humour and fun. We all visited locations in St Neots, fell for the Manningtree area in Essex, and since then became serious about a site elsewhere (in 2013, we did not want to name the site – just in case – by 2015 it is revealed as Cannock Mill). It has not just been about a development site: we have thoroughly investigated our internal and external financing options and put in place appropriate legal arrangements ready for the next steps.

The treasurer, Jane, reported a sound financial position. Funds were now designated as either ‘general’ for use on day to day expenses, such as room hire, or ‘site specific’, such as fees paid to a planning department. The appointment of tax advisers was identified as a priority as we would need advice on VAT and other taxes as significant funds were devoted to the purchase and development of a site.

Phil, who was standing down as company secretary, also remarked on the speed of travel, ‘what a difference a year makes’. He observed that the way we work together had developed during the year: rotating chairs in Board meetings, involving members who are overseas by video conferencing and making the best use of technology.

Ian, for the location subgroup, reminded all members that some twenty potentially viable sites had been evaluated during the year. Around the table, the list of names brought back many personal memories of visits.

Rosie reported on a year when major recruitment activities had been put on hold as we concentrated on site search. Nevertheless, potential new members had been getting to know the group and vice versa. In terms of absolute numbers, the membership had dropped as, early in the year, several members left for good and understandable reasons. In one case the time wasn’t right, for others our buildings were the wrong type and some decided that their planned move from London was too much of a wrench.

As Phil concluded his report, ‘our group [has] developed from wistful “dreamers” to well organised “diggers”.’