Co-op homes: The Heartward Way
Co-op homes and cohousing fit beautifully together. They are made for each other.
This blog plots the journey of Heartward Cohousing, an intentional community we’ve worked with for five years. Together, we are committed to showing there is a better way of living, using co-op homes.
For those of you who want a better place to live, it is possible.
Heartward Cohousing is an intentional community
Co-housing is an intentional community of people sharing resources and values. Still, each has their own home and private space.
Cohousing is an alternative to traditional residential estates or apartment blocks.
There are many benefits to cohousing: it can be affordable, inclusive and diverse, is environmentally sustainable and makes it easier for older adults to age in place (that is, continue to live independently).
The Heartward Journey – What the world needs
Heartward Cohousing society is precisely what the world needs, set up by a group of people directly taking action on the problems that need addressing from their point of view. They are making big decisions about their future lives.
In 2017, we ran some events in East Sussex; it was the start of something fresh and visionary. Of course, like any new project, there is a lot of energy and endeavour at the beginning. But for some, the reality of the time it takes was hard to commit to.
In the past 5 years, a few iterations of this beautiful project evolved, and some people have come and gone.
What are the problems being addressed?
It should be no surprise that we have a housing crisis in the UK.
The system works against many of us, with too many barriers and obstacles. As a result, too many housebuilders and developers are part of the problem rather than the solution.
Also, the cost of land means sky-high mortgage deposits and ever-increasing rent prices are likely to impact those of us caught in the crisis. And somehow, you’re being told that this is your fault. Either you need to save more, or you spend too much. Systemic problems can’t be easily overcome, so don’t believe it is your fault. Many reasons are out of your control that make this crisis nearly unsolvable in its current guise.
We have a fighting chance when people work together for a common cause. This is what Heartward believe in and fights for.
It won’t be much fun if you feel lonely or isolated in your neighbourhood. The place you live in might make you feel disconnected from your day-to-day life and society.
Heartward and cohousing is a solution to this problem. Connectedness and being part of a community are built in from day one. Being with your neighbours is what it’s about, but you also have a front door and private space when you need to be with your family or on your own.
Energy & Climate
Climate change adds more pressure to an already heightened energy crisis and situation. But, unfortunately, while you may want to, being ecological is tough. Whether for financial reasons or because other stresses are taking precedence, many of us don’t have the option to be greener and the systems around us don’t make it easy either.
Heartward Cohousing has ideas and solutions that the community deals with as much as possible. For example, from the design of the buildings, using renewable technologies, reducing waste, growing food, or sharing in the costs associated. This means you can reduce the money spent in simple but effective ways, whilst a collective approach to treading lighter on the planet suddenly becomes more manageable.
The convenience of the car means that people opt for driving over walking or riding a bike. In addition, communities are now being built with cars in mind instead of in a way that encourages us to make healthier transport choices. Compounded by the fact public transport in most parts of the UK is now substandard.
Many people are trying to elicit positive change in Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. However, they find themselves up against convenience culture. Heightened by the landscape surrounding poor public transport doesn’t help either. Only when we come together to use our voices and take action can we start to make real change. Heartward’s approach is carpooling, and car sharing, reducing by half the number of cars a traditional development would cater for.
So where are we, and what’s next?
Well, we are securing land opportunities and working with them on the process any house builder would. Feasibility. There are many ways to get what you want, but we can only help them build what’s affordable to them and the broader group of people they bring in.
This is where the principles and pillars of what Heartward believe in can easily get lost. Most housebuilders don’t consider the same things, so it would be easy to say they can’t afford it.
But that’s not the point. Our search might take us to a place the members of Heartward didn’t want to start with, so it’s whether they can adjust or compromise.
Take a look at Heartward for yourself → https://www.heartward.co/
Do you want to join us?
The process of Co-Production is at the centre of the work we all do together. Co-Create, Co-Design, Co-Fund and finally, Co-Build. There is a plan, and you can be a part of it, but it’s different to buying a home. You are self-building a dream. You are a part of a building project (but don’t worry, you don’t have to get your hands dirty unless you want to!).
We are all working together to achieve Better Places to Live.
This is our direct action to change how traditionally housing is created and built. There are several variations of cohousing communities, and we are making the Heartward one.
Would you like to join Heartward Cohousing? Well, you can – but firstly, you have to start on yourself and know whether you are a fit for them, and they are a fit for you.
Be the change that so many are by taking the first step and doing our Better Places to Live Quiz.
Change your mindset positively to add value to Heartward, or if they aren’t for you right now, maybe in the future a similar cohousing community when the time is right…
What can you do to improve your life and your community?
The first step is to take our 1 minute quiz. Simply answer 9 questions to see if you need a Better Place To Live.
You’ll be scored on the following; A home that meets your needs, a community and neighbourhood that works with your day-to-day life and is friendly to the earth.
Help to spread the word about Cohousing, Better Places to Live and creating A Fairer Society.
Follow, like and share our mission across social media.