Joining Lancaster Cohousing

Is Lancaster Cohousing the place for you?

What does being a member of Lancaster Cohousing mean? As members, we share many benefits, and also many responsibilities. We are also expected to honour our agreements. The most significant of these for someone thinking of joining the community are summarised here.

Our vision
Our shared values and aspirations are articulated in our Vision and A community built on ecological values - What does this mean in practice?. Understanding and supporting the values expressed in these documents is a fundamental condition of membership.

How we make decisions
We make our decisions using a consensus process in which all members are expected to take part. The supreme decision-making body is the monthly General Meeting (GM). Consensus does not mean that all members must always agree, but that all members understand each others positions and can find the common ground between them. So consensus is very important to community building. For more information about consensus decision making, please see these Seeds for Change resources.

Common facilities
All members have access to all our shared facilities, including the Common House, food store, laundry, play room, gardens, guest rooms, tool shed, bike shed, land and car club.

The costs of running most of the common facilities are met by a monthly service charge, which we agree together every year. The costs of the laundry and guest rooms are met through a charge per use. The food store and car club are run as separate not-for-profit cooperatives, and the costs are met through the pricing.

Work to run the community
All members are expected to share the essential work that needs to be done to keep the community running smoothly. At the moment (Feb 2016), we estimate this should be about 10 hours per adult per month.

Communal meals
All members are expected to contribute to our regular vegan and vegetarian common meals by cooking and clearing up as part of a team.         

Private cars
All car users in leasehold (Forgebank) homes are expected to join our car club. Only in very specific circumstances may a member apply to keep a private car on site. In this case, the owner would be encouraged to share their car on ‘any driver insurance’ and would be expected to offer lifts to others. (Our ‘shared journey’ website makes this possible, by recording details of planned journeys.) Due to limited car parking capacity on the site, a parking space cannot be guaranteed. Members may not keep private cars on the public highway within a 2km radius of Forgebank. For more details, please read Everyday travel at Forgebank.
A resident living in a freehold Heron Bank home has their own parking space in front of their house. They have no obligation to join the car club, but they may if they wish.

All members get preferential rates on the cost of workspace in Halton Mill, the co-working space owned by Lancaster Cohousing and run by a not-for-profit cooperative organisation.

Our energy needs are met mostly through renewables: roof-mounted solar panels, a bio-mass boiler and a local community micro-hydro scheme. Lancaster Cohousing supplies the homes with electricity through a microgrid, and heating and hot water through a district heating system. Supply to each household is metered and billing is quarterly. Residents of Forgebank and Heron Bank do not have the option of changing their energy supplier.

All members benefit from the availability of a hyper-fast broadband service.