Cohousing by the back door

February 18, 2014 9:51 pm

A friend send me two Guardian articles, written a little time ago, about a retirement village becoming cohousing in all but name.

I read them with fascination; though the fascination was tinged with a little jealousy from me, as a member of a cohousing group that has been battling for some years now to build our own cohousing scheme.

The definition, if there is one, of cohousing is an intentional community, with private dwellings and shared amenities, created and /or run by its residents for the benefits of the residents. Woodchester Valley village may not be called cohousing but it looks like one, smells like one and behaves like one.

The resident of Woodchester Valley village have been transforming their failing, privately managed, profit-extracting retirement village into a vibrant not-for-profit mutual association, managed by and for themselves, the residents. They made a big leap of faith and proudly asserted their right of independent dignified living in a community designed by themselves for themselves.

The previous for-profit management seemed more about ‘creaming profits’ than proper maintenance, forward thinking renovation or the  involvement of residents in the day-to-day running of their community. By taking over and pushing out mercenary management the residents have retaken their youthful independence while retaining an element of security with round the clock care if necessary.  By acting so boldly they may have saved themselves a bit of money, increased their life enjoyment and give themselves some more added years of proud independent living.