Joining Lancaster Cohousing

Steps to join Lancaster Cohousing

This section takes you through the whole process of getting know and deciding to apply to join Lancaster Cohousing.        

First things first

Please read the website, and book to come on one of our monthly tours.

Is there a home available?

Check if there is a home available for sale or rent. Homes do come up fairly regularly so if there isn’t one that would suit you at the moment and you can wait, do come and get to know us anyway.

Get to know us, and let us get to know you

Joining a cohousing community is a big decision. A bit like getting married! There can be great rewards, but also great pitfalls. If you are really interested in living here, please contact our Membership Team (MIST) as early as possible to arrange to visit and get to know us, and let us get to know you.

MIST’s role is to act as the main point of contact and support between people seriously interested in membership, and the community as a whole. MIST guides you through the process aiming to ensure that you have a robust understanding about what it means to be part of this community and a realistic expectation that you will be able to contribute and thrive here. There are lots of ways we can help you to get a real feel for how we work together, and see if it's for you.

For example, join us for a common meal or a monthly work party, come to socials and meetings, ask to stay in the guest rooms... Try and talk to as many of us as you can to get different perspectives (including probably some contradictory ones!). The more time we can spend getting to know each other, and exploring the idea and the practicalities of living here, the better.  

Understand our key agreements

If you join, you will be signing up to the agreements that the community has made together. Essential reading for Prospective Members summarises the most significant of these and links through to the full text in the agreement documents. Please read the summary and the documents to make sure that you understand, support and are happy to abide by these agreements. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions. Much better to be clear and to check your assumptions before you’re committed!

Meet the conditions for membership

If you’ve been through the steps above, talked it through with other members of your household, checked that there’s a home available, and think you'd like to apply to become a member, the next step is to complete an application form. The Membership Team are your first point of contact and will answer any questions you may have.

To be considered for membership, the adults in your household need to:

  • Write a bio introducing yourself to members (perhaps with a photo). You probably won’t get to meet everyone, but we can circulate your bio. What would you like us to know about you? Your history? What’s important to you? What leads you to believe cohousing life is for you? What benefits and challenges do you feel you will experience? What do you feel you can contribute to the community?
  • Book on an Integration weekend. We offer these 2-4 times a year to help prospective members meet more of us and experience being here. The weekend includes a specific meeting to find out a lot more detail about us: how decisions are made; how community work is organised; how to access information; where and when we meet and socialise etc. This is an opportunity to ask questions and raise any uncertainties you may be feeling.
  • As a minimum, attend at least:
  • One common meal or social event
  • A General Meeting (GM). These meetings are where we make our major decisions. They're held bi-monthly, usually on Saturday on the weekend of the second Sunday of the month, starting in January
  • One other Service Team meeting
  • Satisfy yourself (and us) that you have understood and are willing to abide by our community agreements. The application form includes a covenant to sign whereby you undertake to abide by these agreements.
  • If you are currently a car owner, and will be living in a leasehold home, agree with the Travel Service Team how you will meet your travel needs, and how you will comply with our travel plan (see Everyday travel at Forgebank).
  • Think about how you would like to contribute to the essential community work, and which Service Team(s) you’d be interested to join.
  • Complete and return an application form (available from the Membership Team)

What happens to your application?

Your bio and application form are circulated to all members so everyone knows a bit about you.  You will be matched up with a ‘buddy’ - a community member who will act as your first point of contact and guide through the process of applying to join.

Meanwhile, the Membership Team reviews your application and presents it to a General Meeting (GM). If they feel you have completed all the conditions for membership and will be a good fit for the community, they will recommend that members accept your application. The decision will be coloured by the experience of the members you have met: for example, how have you engaged with the application process? do you seem realistic about the benefits and challenges of living at Forgebank? do you share our aspirations? Occasionally, we have delayed the decision and asked an applicant to spend longer getting to know us and finding out how the community works first. 

Reviewed by Diana and Kathy 11/2/20