What is cohousing?
Cohousing communities are intentional communities. They are created and run by their residents. Each household has a self-contained, personal and private home but residents come together to manage their community, share activities and cook and eat together regularly.
Cohousing is a way of combating the alienation and isolation many experience today, recreating the neighbourly support of the past. For more information look at the UK Cohousing Network website.
Who is involved in MUCH?
MUCH is for people over 50. Some current members are working and some have retired from paid work. In February 2023 there were 10 members, from 7 households, and we are developing a community with around 15 to 20 households, and 18 to 30 people.
We are all busy people, active in the community, with a wide range of interests and hobbies. We share a commitment to the vision and values of the organisation. Our more detailed vision and values statement will provide a basis for exploring with the group whether this is for you.
What are the MUCH members like?
Before joining MUCH you will have opportunities to meet and talk to the existing members in a number of ways. If we are not able to meet you in person, we may be able to meet virtually. We hope this will enable you to decide whether we are people you can live and work with, as well as understanding the project itself.
Where will MUCH be?
We want to live south of Manchester city centre, which is where most of us already live. We haven’t found a suitable site yet, and securing a site is still a major milestone for us.
How much will properties cost?
Construction costs increased a lot during 2022 and continue to rise. We’ll continue to update our cost model. The purchase price of flats will depend on how much it costs to build them, and how we divide the costs of the shared facilities, as well as the size of the properties.
What will the shared facilities be?
We aim to build into the development a ‘Common House’ – a shared flexible space with kitchen, a laundry and drying area, storage, office, guest bedrooms and a shared garden. We aim to keep the costs down by managing the project ourselves, and use it in ways which develop our intentional community.
How much will it cost to join?
The individual membership fee of £100 contributes towards the running of the organisation. This is non- returnable and further contributions will be agreed by the whole group when we need more.
What other costs will there be?
Potential purchasers may be asked to contribute to a fund for early development costs. At some point potential purchasers will need to put a significant deposit down for their property
Will there be any properties to let or for shared ownership?
We are keen to make the opportunity to live in MUCH available to people from different circumstances. There is the potential for both properties to let and shared ownership if people who want these options join the group. If this is you do talk to us.
Will I be able to live at MUCH if I am disabled or ill?
MUCH will be an intentional community, designed to keep us happier and healthier as we age so we can stay living there. The shared facilities and contact we will have in running the cohousing will keep us in touch with each other, so we will know if someone needs neighbourly help. Our design will be fully accessible.
The development will not provide any additional care for residents. However if we need more help to lead our lives we hope to support each other in getting the right solution, to enable us to stay at home as long as possible.
We would encourage anyone over 50 who currently lives independently in the community to consider MUCH as a housing option.
What are the commitments of joining? What will I be expected to do?
All MUCH members are expected to attend the monthly General Meetings at which we make decisions about developing the project by consensus.
To learn how to take part in consensus decision making new members will undertake part in a short course at their own expense. Existing members are learning to make decisions in this way. It is different from most people’s experience and needs practice, so you will join us on the journey.
All MUCH members will become equally responsible for the development, and the appropriate legal structure required to run it, once established. As well as monthly meetings all members are expected to take part in one or more of the working groups. These take place between General Meetings in order to develop aspects of the project, such as: site searches, the business plan, communicating with partners, developing our understanding of building and living sustainably.
At present General Meetings are held either virtually or in person, depending on Covid-19 restrictions.
We often have a shared lunch during or after General Meetings, to get to know each other better and prepare for living in an intentional community.