Well, how are we actually going to make Cohousing happen in Scotland? It is now the end of 2016 – four years after SNP MSP Roderick Campbell led a debate on the benefits of co-housing for older people in Scotland on 31 October 2012. On 22 November 2016 – hosted by Architecture and Design Scotland – the long planned and prepared “Making Cohousing happen” event took place in the Banqueting Hall of the Glasgow City Chambers, attended by about a hundred people. The consensus now, as then, is: yes, we want cohousing to happen in Scotland because it will be of benefit for people and place. Now, as then, it remains to be seen who can muster collaborators who will be able to take action to effectively overcome the multiple barriers, and then celebrate success.
In many ways the event in the City Chambers can be hailed a success. The spectacular Banqueting Hall was buzzing with animated conversations, with excellent presentations, and thanks needs to go to all who made it happen. And Architecture & Design Scotland will produce a report by the beginning of next year.
There were also the less spectacular representatives of the emerging Scottish cohousing collaborators, namely the Cohousing pioneers, who are making the road by walking it, going to meetings after meetings, networking with local councils and other supporting or non-supporting agencies, The ones who actually want to live in a cohousing development right now, or have been wanting to live in one for decades, did not get a platform to be seen and so to be able to connect with each other more easily.
Here are some images from the last three years of Penington cohousing’s 9 year journey: public meetings, information stalls, breaking new ground in Pollokshields in partnership with Southside Housing Association and with Nicola Sturgeon on the demolition site in preparation for our future housing complex.
This week, down in the far south of the United Kingdom in London, 26 older women are not just moving into their new homes, they are making history, as after 18 long-haul years of hard work they are finally moving into the UK’s first Senior CoHousing community. Of the 10 women in the original group, only one is now still alive to enjoy the fruits of her hard work. Click on the image below to watch them on BBC news.
We dearly hope it will not be as long before the PenCoHo members can move into their Senior Coho dream home.
It takes a village to raise a child and also to nurture an elder. It takes a council and a country to raise and nurture Cohousing communities. Research shows the socio-economic benefits of people-led housing especially for elders. Does it HAVE to be so hard to create something so good?
Steven Tolson, our consultant, in his presentation in the City Chambers shared the Big Story in social, economic, environmental and health-care arguments to highlight the urgent need for the profile of co-housing to be raised via a ‘one-stop-shop’ . Agencies in Scotland at all levels need to work together for Cohousing to happen, inspired by good examples of existing Cohousing Communities around the world.
The Springhill Community in Stroud, was introduced to us at the event by Jane Serailler in a beautiful and energising way.
Jane also gave us a punchline from a conversation for all Cohousing hopefuls and members:
‘What is most challenging to deal with when setting up and running a cohousing community?’ she had been asked. ‘People,’ she said. ‘And what is most beautiful and rewarding to deal with?’ ‘People,’ she said.
Right then, people: let’s connect! The beginning of 2017 will see the launch of an umbrella facebook page for all past, present, and future CoHo initiatives in Scotland. We need to learn from and with each other and from past mistakes, and put in place training and support for consent-based decision making, to mention but one commonly known barrier that can wear out dear souls. We need to inspire each other in our collaborations with Councils and Agencies of change, especially when developing socially inclusive financial models, which are able to deliver the support we need to make history in Scotland. This country is familiar with successful people-led housing!
Here is the start of a possible mind map for the plethora of aspects that faces each one of our groups.
We can look to England for help and advice for the general road map in their well resourced website http://cohousing.org.uk/resources AND we need to create our own ‘One-Stop-Shop’ which can galvanise the making of cohousing happen in Scotland, as a real solution for the health and well being of people and planet.
As said above, more reports to follow, also documentations from our consultant.
We are discussing here in this facebook group to create a facebook page that can serve all ScotsCoHo people, for the time being, as a coming together and link-up tool. Anyone in Scotland active developing Cohousing in one way or another can join. The next (and long planned) step will be to compose a ‘manifesto’ type document that can serve to evidence support and interest nationally and locally. Anybody with an interest in making cohousing happen is invited to join hands with us. Our contact details are in the footere of each webpage. Or you can use the comment function here.
A collage of our twitter feed images of the event. Click on each to enlarge.