Friday, 4 July 2014

Our plans

So if you've seen our last post you'll know that we're looking for more people to join the co-op. So I thought it might be a good idea to try and explain what we're up to and what we have in mind for the future.

The way we see it, the co-op exists to provide people with decent quality housing that is affordable. We also want it to be able to keep housing people as their wants and needs change. At the moment we have one big shared house – which is great for those of us who live there, but is clearly not suitable for everyone, and there's a good chance that it won't be suitable for some of us further down the line either. We also don't want to keep the benefits of being part of a housing co-op all to ourselves. We've picked up a lot of skills and experience buying our first house, so we definitely want to do it a few more times.

But we also want to ensure that the people who live in the co-op are responsible for running it. We want the co-op to provide more than just housing – its also a tool for building community and organising ourselves. A lot of larger housing co-operatives are run by management committees and paid companies, with minimal involvement from most of their members, and we don't want to end up like that. So this means we're adopting a decentralised structure. Each house we buy will be the responsibility of the people who live in it – they get complete control about things like redecorating, and who else they want to live there, and take on responsibility for maintenance. With support and skill-sharing from the rest of us of course. We'll also be exploring what we can offer beyond just housing – one of our long term ambitions is buying land somewhere not too far from Swansea.

When we buy new houses, we won't simply be looking for a house and then finding people to live in it. We want to give our new members a say in which properties we buy and how we renovate them. This means we won't be able to offer you somewhere to live immediately, though we're pretty confident that it will be quicker than the two years it took us to buy our first house – we've learnt a lot from that process. But the upside of that is getting a property that suits you, and having a say in who you live with.

So if that sounds like something you'd be up for, see our previous post on expanding and email us the interest form.