28 May 2018

Right to Build Task Force engages with London Older Lesbian Cohousing

Right to Build Task Force engages with London Older Lesbian Cohousing

The Right to Build Task Force has announced it is advising London Older Lesbian Cohousing (LOLC), a group working to create an intentional and innovative community of 20-25 homes with shared living spaces.

Founded in April 2016, the group’s cohousing model enables it to create a caring environment for older living that offers an alternative to conventional approaches to retirement.

The shared values and community facilities common to cohousing make it an ideal choice for people with diverse life experiences but similar ambitions for an autonomous yet supported later stage of life.

It’s a solution for interdependent living underpinned by a community ethos, which helps limit the isolation that can come with aging.

London Older Lesbian Cohousing is supported by Waltham Forest Council and Locality, the national network that supports community organisations, which is itself funded by the Nationwide Foundation.

Announced at the Right to Build Expo held in London recently, the advice represents the first official work by the Task Force to further Custom Build housing opportunities through community-led projects.

A significant part of the Task Force’s remit is for it to focus on affordability, and as such it is keen to work with a range of community groups. Interested groups should get in touch through the Right to Build Toolkit.

It is hoped the project will act as a model for schemes across London, and to support this work the Task Force will be working closely with the London Community-led Housing Hub to ensure that learning is captured and shared with other groups.

Initially, the Task Force will work with London Older Lesbian Cohousing to develop a site specification and identify potential locations for them, as well as support them to create a shortlist of delivery partners prior to selecting a funding model. This will facilitate the move to design and delivery.

Jude Watson, LOLC member said: “It’s great to have the support of the Right to Build Task Force to help us progress to our next stage. We are now a company and have developed our business plans with help from the Task Force and the Community Led Housing London. We are developing our site and design specs further, ready to work with housing provider partners. It’s great that our ‘intentional’ community for older lesbians is being recognised as a way forward for diverse older housing communities.”

Mario Wolf, Director of the Right to Build Task Force, said “We have a significant lack of diversity in the housing opportunities available to older people in our housing market. Custom and Self Build housing offers older people a better choice of accommodation and can help them to live independently for longer and help reduce costs to our social care and health systems.

“Senior cohousing schemes like the recently completed New Ground project in High Barnet really show what can be achieved in such projects and how they can create affordable, high quality homes which improve the quality of life of our older citizens whilst freeing up more homes for other buyers.”

Anyone looking to set up their community-led housing group should sign up to the Right to Build registers in the areas they are considering, by visiting the Right to Build portal at www.righttobuildportal.org.

Photo: NaCSBA Chair Michael Holmes, Richard Bacon MP and Mario Wolf at the Right to Build Expo London.

Editor’s comment

This is fantastic news, both for London Older Lesbian Cohousing but also for other community groups, who often struggle to get tailored advice that’s both affordable but that actually supports them to get to the next stage of their project. Community-led housing is a driver for new ways of creating housing, but it’s grass roots and consequently hard work. I look forward to the Task Force helping more groups in the future.

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