Basic Information about us
What is cohousing?
A form of group living set up and run by the people who live in it. Occupants subscribe to a set of defined values and aims; they enjoy their own accommodation, personal space and privacy, but in addition have common areas in which to meet and share joint activities. The aim is to promote neighbourliness, combat isolation and offer mutual support; residents will also be encouraged to become involved with the local community. The OWCH scheme is not in any way sheltered housing, nor a gated retirement community cut off from the outside world.
OWCH values are:
- Acceptance and respect for diversity
- Care and support for each other
- Providing a balance between privacy and community
- Countering ageist stereotypes
- Co-operating and sharing responsibility
- Maintaining a structure without hierarchy
- Caring for the environment
- Being part of the wider community
New Ground Cohousing
is a development of 25 self contained flats with shared communal facilities and gardens, managed on cohousing principles. It consists of 11 one-bed, 11 two-bed and 3 three-bed room flats plus a common room, guest room, laundry and attractive gardens. 17 flats are owned by their occupants on 250- year leases; 8 are for social renters on assured tenancies and are managed by OWCH and Housing for Women.
Only women who are over the age of 50, and who become members of OWCH (Barnet) Ltd, may live at ‘New Ground’, but visitors of any age or gender are welcome. Membership involves a process of mutual agreement and a commitment to the core values of the group. OWCH maintains a limited number of non-resident members as potential residents for when a vacancy occurs. The Company reserves the right to select new members according to the needs of the group at any one time and to adjust its age-profile when needed. Tenants for the social rental units are selected by the group in accordance with standard eligibility criteria agreed with Housing for Women and the Tudor Trust. Potential leaseholders (and their families and/or heirs) need to be aware that the restrictions on membership may make it harder to sell a lease, could reduce its market value and might make if difficult to raise a mortgage on the property.
How New Ground is managed
OWCH (Barnet) Ltd is a fully mutual company, with an elected management committee, and its decisions are made by the resident OWCH group via a monthly meeting. One of a number of policies agreed by OWCH concerns mutual support. The group undertakes ‘to look out for rather than look after each other’. Where an individual has care needs, she is expected to have arrangements in place to meet them. Everyone is expected to contribute insofar as she can and the OWCH community cares for ‘New Ground’ and the group’s life together through a series of small work teams, such as for cleaning, gardening, finance, membership, communications and so on. There is a communal meal each week.