The first month of this New Year is drawing to a rapid close today and Penington CoHo is bracing itself for some mid stream rapids as we are set to change course to find a new site! The planned building developments at the site at Shields Road are proving economically not viable for our Senior CoHousing Initiative, and so the compass is getting reset for better grounds. Watch this space everyone, as Steven Tolson (consultant to SSHA and us) is about to publish his consultancy report, and as the very supportive dialogues with Steven and SSHA (Southside Housing Association) are evolving further now.
A small group of our members represented PenCoHo in Parliament last week at the Cross Party group on Housing, convened by Andy Wightman, MSP. We were there together with representative from 3 other Scottish Cohousing Initiatives, CHOISS from Edinburgh/Dumfries, Vivarium from Fife, and a big group from the newly rising CoHo star in Scotland, Clachan CoHo from Glasgow/Maryhill.
Margaret Whitelaw, one of our Associate Members is also part of her own fledgling CoHo Initiative in Lenzie (North of Glasgow) and she says:
It was great experience to be in the parliament building among so many like minded co-housing enthusiasts in Scotland working away in a wide variety of locations and circumstances. This shows how Co-Housing is a robust and flexible solution to many housing problems.
Margaret, like us all, further expressed disappointment at the fact that only two MSPs showed up. But she was delighted at the welcome Andy Wightman gave and the working potential with him , and at the mutual support the different CoHo groups give each other. It was very helpful and energising for everybody from PenCoHo to have had time with Steven after the meeting.
Barbara Potter, our treasurer, gave a presentation on PenCoHo, portraying the challenges we face and calling for greater levels of understanding, education and communication. Older people are thinking ahead about their future housing needs and seeing co-housing as an appropriate way of designing and living in a collective and mutually supportive environment.
Representatives from Clachan and CHOISS spoke about the evidenced wishes of a wide range of people to live in CoHousing initiatives, large or small, multigenerational and self built, both urban and rural. It is of particular importance to work out how to best use innovative financial models grounded in creating spaces for living and not just investment, such as the mutual home ownership model (see LILAC).
Quoting here now a note made by Steven on
Craig Sanderson, Link Group
CS highlighted that the Link Group provided a form of co-housing in the 1970s which was very popular and he thinks it is time for its resurrection. CS mentioned that the benefits of co-housing could make a significant contribution to Scottish Government agendas of Health and Social Care Integration and Community Empowerment. He also mentioned the Social Enterprise strategy indicating that in his opinion Co-housing can be part of that strategy. Andy Wightman reminded the meeting that the secondary Community Empowerment legislation relating to Community Asset Transfer was now in place and local authorities are required to have public registers of their assets.
Petra Biberbach, PAS
Petra explained to the meeting the current Planning Bill which followed the Planning Review (PB was one of the Planning Review panel members). PB recommended that co-housing groups should respond to the Planning Review consultation that is currently being carried out by Scottish Government.
There are many more key communications noted by Steven, but for now let’s just mention that Daniel Mackendry from A&DS (the organisers of Making CoHousing Happen event in November) is keen to continue to support the CoHo Initiative in Scotland and re-convene the organisers of last event to look at follow-up steps. Meanwhile the report of the November event is available here and the full set of all speakers’ presentations are accessible here. It is very exciting to have these materials now made publically available. Thanks and appreciation to all involved!
Yes, it is an exciting time, and above all very timely time to get involved with CoHousing in Scotland. This community-led model, in its varied forms, has been taken up so well in Europe, Scandinavia and round the world, because of its appeal for low impact living, community values and fun. Yes, it is rather hard work just now, whilst we all are still in the pioneer stages. But there is a strong and growing sense that developing CoHousing in Scotland is an idea and a way of living whose time has come anew.
There was unanimous appreciation for having enrolled Andy Wightman to the CoHo cause as housing/tenure and land rights have been on his activist desk long before he became MSP last year.
So, for now, why not join us Saturday week at our next drop-in in Pollok Civic Realm? Saturday, 11th February, 11.30 am – 1.30pm. This is followed by a progress meeting in the library from 2pm – 4pm where you can join us as members new and old.
For more details for directions please visit our January drop in post here.
Also check slide show below for seeing where we are in the venue, to ensure you will find us on the 11th February.