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We hope you are staying safe and well, and have put together some useful links for you to stay in touch and keep working together below. 
Guidance on operational management
as a response to COVID-19 

Head to the Community Led Homes website for guidance on remote working  for co-ops and other community led housing groups from Confederation of Co-operative Housing. 

CCH have also produced guidance on things to consider in relation to governance and operational management issues. 

Meanwhile National Community Land Trust Network have shared a helpful video on   How to host a remote AGM, which 
explains the steps you can take to meet your legal obligations whilst following public health precautions.

Covid-19 Mutual Aid
The Community Business Mutual Aid group is run by and for community-led businesses in the UK.  It is about solidarity, inspiration and practical peer support during COVID-19 and beyond.

This cross-sector peer network funded by Power to Change share their experiences, while community businesses facilitate different themes. 

Click here for the Community Business Mutual Aid group: 
Power To Change has also put together a useful guide to Local Government for Community Groups, and is holding a webinar on Zoom,

"Setting up your business online - a guide for community businesses"
on Wednesday 8th April at 4.00 pm. 

Click here to register for the webinar:
Introducing Hope Cohousing from Orkney - UK's most northerly cohousing project 

Hope Cohousing started up as a forming group in 2018 with the aim of building five homes for rent with linked communal buildings in St Margaret’s Hope, Orkney for a group of older people. Changing circumstances and a realisation that some of our homes were now not suitable, led us to decide we wanted a new-build project where we could live independently yet communally, in reach of village and community services such as doctor’s surgery, shops and bus routes.

Although Orkney regularly comes up as one of the best places to live, regrettably it has the highest rates of fuel poverty in the UK, often linked to old or hard to heat properties. So good insulation and low heating costs are also essential components of the new build. 

Thanks very largely to the support of Orkney Islands Council and a partnership with Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, over the past two years we have made great progress. We received feasibility funding from the Scottish Government’s Islands Housing Fund which covered community consultations in the islands as well as advancing designs for the project. We have submitted a planning application this month and are preparing to go out to tender to local contractors.

Last autumn we prepared a bid for Innovate UK ISCF Healthy Aging initiative, which led us to develop ideas for rolling out a cohousing blueprint across other rural and island communities. It seemed to us that many cohousing projects are held back because each one has to find out anew how to overcome the hurdles to progress. We have been fortunate to have the active support and encouragement of our local authority, but are still having to learn how to access funds and build a successful business case, especially for the common spaces. 

The bid for Innovate UK successfully went through to the interview stage. On our trip to London to make our presentation we were fortunate to meet with Owen Jarvis and were delighted to share our ideas with him. It was also very exciting to visit OWCH and learn from three of the residents about living in a cohousing community. Recently we have been to the Rural Housing Scotland Conference in Birnam, near Perth, where we talked about our project and learned about other community-led housing developments in Scotland. Many of them are bigger than Hope Cohousing, but it was also good to learn about other schemes that like ours reflect the smaller communities we live in. 

We are now looking into community shares as a potential source of funding as well as pursuing grants and other options. We will update on progress in future newsletters. 

London School of Economics  survey
deadline extended 

Survey: Can community-led housing tackle loneliness?

Many thanks if you've already completed or circulated our online survey on community-led housing and loneliness.

The good news is that we've extended the date, and also added a few additional questions about how communities are responding to the Covid19 virus. There's also an option to answer these new questions separately, if you've previously completed the survey. 

Both options, and details about the research, are here:

Many thanks again for your support, and for circulating this new update to members of your group and to any contacts you might have in other community led housing projects.

Best wishes, and hope you're keeping well in these difficult circumstances,

An update from Still Green 
Despite the 'lock-down' we have been able to hold a meeting for our members by Zoom on 21 March and to make significant progress with our Milton Keynes project.

We were disappointed that we could not welcome visitors to an Open Meeting as we had planned in March but we are still  looking for new members. If you would like to find out more about us, please e-mail us at'
Oxford Cohousing makes progress at last! 

After ten years working together, Oxford Cohousing may finally be making some real progress towards identifying a site, putting in an offer and building our cohousing community.  This progress has happened thanks to a grant of £72,000 from Homes England's Community Housing Fund. 

We applied last year and received final confirmation in January this year.  The money has to be spent before the end of March, unless an extension to the Fund is announced, for which National Cohousing has been busy lobbying.  

The money has enabled us to employ a local firm of architects - Transition by Design - who designed our logo - and other experts (including Charles Couzens as Project Manager, who has worked with Bridport Cohousing, and Jimm Reed, financial consultant, who worked with us on earlier bids) to do feasibility work on two sites in Oxford.   

This exciting progress means a lot more work for our small core group as we need to look fairly urgently now at the questions of membership (how to grow it), legal structure (we are currently a limited company but we want to be able to keep affordable homes affordable in perpetuity), and allocation of units.  Any guidance and ideas from other cohousing groups around these issues is being sought and very welcome. 

Update from Cohousing London East
Cohousing London East is progressing well. We've been appointed an advisor from CLH London this week. We're thrilled - it's a real validation of our vision and team. 

If you are interested in learning more about our project we're hosting  a webinar on Tuesday the 14th April at 1.00 pm. The link will be on our Facebook page and Instagram. We're looking to recruit pioneer founder members!

contact David Stoker on
Community Life with Covid
Cambridge Cohousing, Marmalade Lane

The Common House is now quiet.  It is extremely strange to walk through a space designed for social interaction and to be the heart of the community but for it to be so silent and empty.
Our empty events board
We have now reached what for now seems like a steady state after a period of ever-tightening boundaries. In quick succession, we put up posters asking everyone to wash their hands upon entering the common house; stopped external visits to the community, stopped shared meals and in-person meetings; introduced a daily bleaching of door handles in the common house (which is also the point of entry for some apartments); set up a spreadsheet for community members to record their status; limited the common house access to the common house to apartment access only an those who were 'low risk'; and set up a separate laundry for those deemed 'higher risk'. 
Then with the PM's statement and schools closing came the most difficult challenge, working out how the children could still safely play in the shared garden.  A carefully negotiated rota was introduced and seems to be working well, although the birds are struggling to find a quiet time to feed in the copse.
When the Covid regulations came in the Gym was closed, although some residents continue with weights outside. We read the fine print of the Covid regulations and reassured ourselves that the shared garden was an "appurtenance" and so part of the place we lived and so going into the shared garden was not restricted. 
A community designed for social interaction with such an emphasis on sharing resources naturally is going to be challenged by Covid-19.  Decisions on how to respond have not been without their challenges as there are different views and opinions (naturally) about how to approach the situation.
Alongside this necessary tightening of boundaries, the community continues to find creative solutions to maintain social connections. Slack's K1-jam is busier than ever; there is now a separate Covid-19 trials channel to try to stop the topic encroaching too much on day-to-day life. The coffee mornings are now virtual and daily. Children's birthdays are celebrated with home-made (quarantined) cards and singing from balconies and doorways. For those who need to keep busy, the expanding plans of the grounds group provides plenty of opportunities.  We have a new community art project underway.  We had a lovely displays of lego creations by the children to view on boundary walls.  A walk along the lane and through the shared garden, brings plenty of opportunity to meet and talk with each other at a safe distance.
On a more practical front the community continues to provide practical day to day support. Our internal shop has expanded. we are sharing supermarket deliveries, and now order our fruit and vegetables and bread collectively for redistribution internally. We have supported those who have had to self-isolate - so far only for the normal childhood snuffles - with food supplies and laundry.  We have made plans for how to support households, especially single-person households, if they develop Covid symptoms.
Every day, I am grateful to be living in a cohousing community at this time.
Don’t forget to send us your news, events, tips or feedback about life in your cohousing that we can share to encourage others.  That’s what the UK Cohousing Network is all about!  Our newsletter goes out the first Wednesday of every month so please email through to us in advance at and try to include images or links to video if you can.

Got questions about cohousing? You can contact us at or use the resources available below:
MYUKCN Forum (UKCN members only)
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