We aim to create one or more cohousing developments in Berkshire, each of which will give
20 to 40 households of various sizes and age ranges their own self-contained homes,
a percentage being housing for rent or part-buy. Common indoor areas will include
kitchen, dining area and lounge for shared meals and socializing. There will also be
provision for office and workshop space, potentially small business units for rent,
and some common outdoor space.
The development(s) will be managed by the residents using consensus decision making
where possible. Whether new-build, renovation or a mix of the two, the architecture
and design will facilitate social and environmental sustainability. The location(s)
will have good transport connections, and we will foster good relations with, and
aim to provide some benefits to, the surrounding community.
Our Group & Members
We are an currently an unincorporated Association called “Cohousing Berkshire”, and
have also set up a company to take the first cohousing project forward - this is
called Kennet And Thames Cohousing Limited (KATCH for short). Cohousing Berkshire
association will continue as an information body to seed further cohousing projects
in the future.
We currently have about 10 core members, and an email group of about 50. We have
a diverse range of people from their 20s to their 60s; people with children, single
people, singles with children, and couples. We have a number of people looking for
owner-occupier houses, and some looking for affordable housing.
Cohousing Berkshire has an annual membership fee of £35, which enables us to function,
i.e. hire rooms, print leaflets, pay expenses for guest speakers etc. It also gives
the group an element of formality, with agreed ways of working and a shared commitment.
We have a website, and an email group to share information.
Meetings & Social
We meet bimonthly in Reading on a Sunday at someone’s house around lunch time to
make it less formal. Ongoing work from sub-groups or individuals feeds into these
meetings, where decisions are taken by consensus where possible. We encourage guest
to come along and take part in our meetings, and invite them to become members if
they are interested in the project.
Our work and activities
We have been researching cohousing as a group through reading, having guest speakers,
and going on visits, for instance to Springhill in Stroud, The Community Project
in Sussex, and the Threshold Centre in Dorset.
We have developed a good working relationship with Aster Housing Association, who
are keen to get involved in a cohousing project, and have been very helpful in the
process. Where we are bringing the model and a willing group of prospective residents
intent, they have a wealth of industry expertise, so we are hoping this will be a
All the while we are working closely with the UK Cohousing Network, the main source
of information and expertise on cohousing in the UK. Recently they put on a National
Cohousing Conference in London, and we had very inspiring input from two of the main
cohousing proponents in the USA, who have set up more than 50 cohousing developments.