Who we are
I have had a rich and varied life, with some wonderful opportunities! Many of these have been driven by my passion for social justice, from the primary classroom to adult literacy, then a complete change of direction to popular education through community development, inspired by working with Vietnamese refugees in Scotland. I worked with some of the most marginalised communities in the country as a community worker, and my political activism centred round the Miners’ Strike, the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign (with some time in Puerto Cabezas), the women’s movement, Greenham support groups, the peace movement and Quakers, War on Want supporting Médecins Sans Frontières, and more. I moved to Lancaster to become a community development educator and later professor of community development and social justice. Recently, I became emeritus professor, which means that I spend most of my time as an author and a freelance consultant on social justice through community development.
I have two beloved sons, Gavin and Duncan, and a large extended family. My life changed forever in 2002, when Grace was born and I became Grandma supreme! We adore each other, and have great adventures. Grace and I joined Lancaster Cohousing in 2006, when she was four years old. When Lancaster Cohousing landed at my feet, it offered me a wonderful opportunity to live according to the values that inspire my work and my life.^ top
I live frugally so I can get by working part time - I am a nurse in a care home. I've been vegetarian all my adult life and would now call myself a vegan. I grew up in Cumbria, just up the Lune, and went to school in Kirkby Lonsdale. A long time ago I cycled overland to India, where I had many adventures, was an extra in Sir Richard Attenborough's "Gandhi" and lived in a mountain top cave with a Yogi. I got into meditation which is still part of my daily practice. Every year I sit a 10 day silent retreat.
I live with my partner, Dawn. Our carefully designed Forgebank house has enabled us to be a couple together living apart - the best of both worlds. We met at Homeopathic summer camp many years ago, and it was at another summer camp, sitting with friends by the campfire late one night, that I idly mused "wouldn't it be great to live like this all year round? We could all eat together, there'd be a hundred bikes and one car, we'd have solar panels on the roof and compost toilets and look after each other's children." Someone told me that I had just described Lancaster Cohousing, and three weeks later I was signed up. Originally there was only an idea to believe in. A group of people assembled who believed the idea could work, and eventually after a lot of work, and a million detailed decisions, made it a reality. All major and most of the minor decisions happen by consensus process, something which doesn't seem to happen very much outside cohousing. The only thing missing from the camp fire manifesto is the compost toilets - we couldn't seem to get consensus on that one.^ top
I am working as a Speech and Language Therapist in an special school on the other side of the bay. I am really pleased with our move up here. Though I miss spending as much time with our children as I used to as I'm working and Luke is at home during the day with the them. What's great is that we are all doing work we enjoy, on the whole. I find life up here much more relaxed so it suits us better than living in London's commuter belt. it amazes me how everyone seems to know everyone else in Lancaster, and how the communities seem to connect up all round Morecambe Bay. I am looking forward to the day we move in when we can reap the benefits of our hard work. In my spare time I love to read, go for bike rides and trips with the children and catch up with friends.^ top
I’m a mix of tech geek and creative. After Art College I studied environmental engineering and now work in London as a sustainability consultant at a multinational engineering company. I specialise in residential energy efficiency and building integrated renewables, so the plans for Forge Bank instantly struck a chord.
The combination of community-focused and environmentally-aware living offers the three of us an opportunity to live a lifestyle I enthuse about and I can’t think of a better place for a young boy to grow up: in the countryside, by a river, and with the ability to go off exploring the ‘wilds’ of the cohousing land. If that was not enough, living on a good canoeing river is a definite draw along with being close to the lakes, the moors and the sea so I can pursue my passions for cycling, walking and sailing. And then there is the talk of building a treehouse...^ top
I am currently the stay-at-home parent for Fergal and Lily who are autonomously home educated and raised in a consensual manner; this is working well and we are all really enjoying it. Elizabeth has the short-straw of going to work and earning a living for us all. Most of my time is spent caring for them in one way or another, including ferrying them round to home-ed activities or clubs, whilst keeping the house running and looking after the pets, building servers so they can play computer games with their friends and providing general IT support. The rest of my time is usually soaked up by cohousing related activities and duties, since I help both the Finance and the Build and Resources teams. I try and squeeze photography and/or running in any remaining spare moments.
In my previous life I worked as an IT consultant for various consultancies in and around London. I am glad to be out of that game, but still potter around with computers when given the chance.
We moved up here in 2009 after travelling up and down for over a year to attend the various meetings. We had considered and visited various communities around the country, but felt Lancaster Cohousing was the closest fit, since both community and sustainability were important to us.^ top
I am a lecturer in Performing Arts at Edge Hill University. I have also worked as an actor in repertory and touring theatres in this country and abroad. I’m currently a member of Larkin’ About, performing larger than life characters at numerous festivals and street events.^ top
I moved to Lancaster in June 2012 from North East England to be part of the cohousing project. After about a year of trying I was lucky enough to be both offered a job in the North West as a librarian in a further education college and complete the sale of my house within weeks of each other. Perfect timing.
I joined Lancaster Cohousing in early 2011. I had been aware of the development for a few years. My initial interest was in eco and green living however it was the amazing group of people building the sustainable community that convinced me to stay and join. Came for the eco but stayed for the community.
A few random observations about myself, in no particular order and by no means comprehensive: I’m an inconsistent artist and a 3.00 a.m. thinker and reader; I like strong tea, ecology, libraries, radio, 70s music, The Railway Children, diverse community, cats, beaches (especially Northumbrian ones) and art.
I am married to Charles who I met in India where I was born. We are parents to a grown up son and daughter and grandparents (3 xs). Until I retired I was Social Worker, CAB Supervisor, Tribunal Panel Member etc. Now I have the luxury of doing things I never had time for before i.e. Tai Chi, Pilates, volunteering for 3 organisations (wood recycling, good neighbour scheme, and advice work). Besides this, I enjoy foraging, growing stuff/making things to eat and walking with our group. The eco aspect of Lancaster Cohousing initially drew me in: I thought that a zero carbon house was ‘pie-in-the-sky’ for me, but sometimes dreams do come true... The co-housing bit was slightly scary but having met the group – all of whom are so enthusiastic about making it work, that I am immensely reassured. I am also in awe of the talent and experience held collectively in the group and I feel privileged to be part of it.^ top
I grew up in Northamptonshire with my English mother, French father and younger sister. I qualified as a nurse there, and during the 70s and 80s I worked in London, the West of Ireland, Bristol and Somerset. After specialising as a children’s nurse, I trained as a health visitor and eventually moved up north, where I have lived happily for over 20 years in the Peak District village of Hayfield. I now work part time as a qualitative research fellow in public health at the University of Sheffield, where my main research focus is in health inequalities and cultural safety in health care.
Corinne, my French partner, and I have not experienced cohousing before but when this opportunity presented itself we both knew almost immediately that this was where we wanted to be. We first fell in love with the location, but the decision was sealed when we met existing members , felt so at home in a warm inviting atmosphere and saw the impressively well organised and consensual way that decisions are made. A strong attraction is being part of an intergenerational eco community which combines my long standing commitment to living sustainably, and living among others of all ages who share that outlook and vision, and among young children. I’m looking forward to lots of walking and cycling in the immediate area as well as the Lakes and the Yorkshire Dales. I’ll also be able to continue my enjoyment of gardening, wildlife and nature, and the easy cycling access to Lancaster means I can transfer my Quaker membership to the local meeting and also join a local tennis club. Traditional and folk music, singing, reading and yoga are among our other interests, and these are shared by several others in the community, so all in all this is a great new phase in our lives that we are going to really enjoy and enjoy sharing.^ top
I am an artist specialising in artists books and site specific art, and I completed an MA in Fine Art in 2010. I hope to continue to involve other group members in art projects at Forge Bank and elsewhere - creating art work is a great way to bring people together. Some helped me with my MA sound piece (see www.artistsbooks.org) and Diana performed with me at our recent New Year's Eve Revue. I'm also a keen folk singer and banjo player, and regularly perform at a local(ish) folk club. I lived in communities of one sort or another for 28 years until 1998. Chris and I brought up our son in co-operation with other parents and children. I have lived in fairly small communes, and I am already finding cohousing more exciting, dynamic and with a much wider spread of interests, as well as giving me privacy when I want it. There is also a supportive community around for those times when I need it. I have been a builder, conference organiser, therapist, adult education tutor, equal opportunities officer, outreach worker, city councillor, coffin painter - and that is just the paid work.^ top
I came across Lancaster Cohousing when looking for ‘green homes’ and wondering where to live next. It made me consider how I want to live as well as where. I have seen the huge amount of thought and work that has gone into the project, and that, and the commitment of people involved, gave me the confidence to move to Lancaster and join the project.
I work in the voluntary sector - and it is important to me to choose which organisations I work for - always small, grassroots and usually focussed on campaigning. A few years ago I gave up some work and took time out to do a course in textile design, patchwork and quilting. I have carried on feeding my creative side and since then have not been able to go back to full time work -- there are too many other things I want to do. I like to keep fit, mainly through yoga, dancing, walking and cycling. I also enjoy gardening, reading, textile art and crafty things.
ITs great to be here for lots of reasons – living amongst friends, a green community, sharing stuff, a cycle route to Lancaster, and a draught-free house – what a joy after draughty country cottages.And I never imagined I would live somewhere with such a fab view!^ top
I'm Kathy and Paul's daughter. I'm going to love living near my playmate Martha, and it will be fantastic growing up round everyone else and with such an amazing playground on the doorstep. I love dancing, reading books with mirror endings, and being the centre of attention.^ top
Cohousing is what I’ve wanted to do all my life, I just didn’t find out until now. I’ve wanted someone to darn my socks, fix my puncture, help me paint and tell me the best first aid remedy as a swap for me, um ... err ...being a friendly face!?! And it’s so much better; Butlins on acid. Someone’s shopped and cooked by the time I get home; there’s leftovers when I’m late home or for next day’s packed lunch; I get to play lego in the playroom with the kids (or their dads); read them stories; swap news, info on sales or events in town sitting around the Common House stove; give or get a hug on a bad day; head off on walks with people; buy cheap bulk purchases; and can nip down to the store when I’m out of jam, rice or chickpeas.
I arrived permanently in Lancaster in 2000, after work in Italy, Yugoslavia, Germany, Canada, London and Glasgow and I love it here. And living in Halton where it gets proper dark at night is really great. I’m one of the lentil munchers, but I learnt to cook chickpeas in Naples and love to cook what one friend calls ‘peasant food’. Currently it’s adding to my waistline as getting this project going has wiped me off my feet, but I’m starting to reconnect with my old routine of fell running, circuits, yoga and Tai Chi – some of which we’re starting to get going together here.
I’m also enjoying lazing in bed looking out onto the river with the sun streaming in through the windows, bliss. It really feels such a privilege to share this life, it’s so rich. You don’t need a TV, we’re our own soap opera! As Tom said at 4am on New Year’s eve, “We rock.”^ top
ElizaI am Eliza, Martha's little sister (born June 2011). I like cats and pies. Even though I only have toy cats at home I have found different houses along the street where I can stand around looking cute until a bigger person opens the door and invites me in to see their cat. If I am lucky I get a biscuit too. Cohousing is great but there could be more pies. ^ top
Hi. I am Jan’s son, I am a student at Lancaster Royal Grammar School. I have joined Halton’s Scouts and have made friends in the village, even though I’m a boarder at LRGS which is due to my mum working away. We joined the project through my Aunty reading a copy of the Permaculture magazine and passing it on to us. We joined in July 2010 and I think the project is amazing therefore I love living here.^ top
I am a part time Sustrans Bike It Officer which I love – this means I work with schools to help children to be able to cycle to school. I’m also a Mum and I’ll be living in the project with my partner Paul and daughter Polly. Paul and I both like to cycle, run and practice Ashtanga yoga when we get the chance. I’ve been involved in the project from the start. I look forward to living in community and hope that others will be inspired by the eco-living side of the project. I’m originally from Suffolk / Essex but have been in Lancaster on and off for nearly 20 years now so it feels like home.^ top
I am Fiona's daughter Anna and I am 21 years old. I;m studying Specialist Meda Makeup at Lancaster and Morecambe College and have just applied to uni so I can carry on learning as much as I can about Media Makeup. As well as doing the course I do four or five shiftsa week at Matalan. I love living in a brand new house in the cohousing project and really enjoyed helping choosing colour schemes for the walls and fabrics in the house. I had my 21st birthday here and all my friends think it's great.
I used to run the creche for meetings for this project at the very beginning and have enjoyed seeing some of the children grow up and new children arrive here: I did face painting with some of the kids and adults in the Common House at New Year along with one of my friends which was good fun.
I'm looking forward to going to Uni next year and to coming back for the holidays to see how it's all progressing.^ top
I'm Luke and Elizabeth's daughter. I'm eight. I like to play with my pets Sparky the dog and my Guinea Pigs. I think the guinea pigs will like it there too as we can take them out in their cage to get some yummy grass. I'm looking forward to living in cohousing and having lots of space to play in the woods. I'm really really looking forward to building some cool tree houses. At the moment I'm really into skyping with friends all over the world while playing Minecraft. I also love putting on shows with my local friends.^ top
JonI've recently gone self employed, and my main work at the moment is project-managing the cohousing project. I also do bits of environmental and transport consultancy and energy surveys of homes. I started my working life as an ecologist. In my spare time I love escaping to the quiet bits of countryside which surround Lancaster, and exploring new places on my bike. I've been getting more into running recently too. I get a lot of satisfaction out of making things happen but I easily get fed up with long meetings. I have a reputation for getting food ready quickly, but creating a huge amount of mess in the process. I often wonder how people with children find the time to look after them and do all the other things they do?! ^ top
After visiting communities in Scotland and living in a rural village in Nepal I have become convinced that living with others in a co-housing setting, especially an eco one, is a great way to live. I live with my partner Becky, work as a clinical support worker in the local hospital and am studying to be a nurse in Lancaster. The outdoors and environment has been an important part of my life having grown up on the doorstep of the lakes in Penrith. I have worked as an instructor for two outdoor education charities and particularly enjoyed teaching environmental education as part of my work. I love running, climbing, kayaking, cycling etc. In fact most things that you can do outside! I have been living at Lancaster Cohousing for a short time now and don't regret it for a second. From runs with friends from the street to good food and company in the common house, it is definitely an enjoyable journey.
Squatter, street performer, clown, carpenter, father, anarchist, peace activist, communard, Engineer of the Imagination, author and Green Councillor. I lived for 20 years at People in Common, a small alternative community in Burnley that grew out of the radical underground of the 1970s before moving to Lancaster.
I have worked in the construction industry for over 25 years, originally as a carpenter doing house renovations and for the last decade doing project management for community and voluntary groups. Cohousing has been something of a dream for the last ten years. I have nearly lived in some sort of communal set up for longer than I have lived in the ‘outside world’ – and on balance the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Living on your own has its attraction, but it is not all it’s cracked up to be!^ top
I am Huw's partner and Martha and Eliza's mum. I work in the education department at the local prison. I like to keep active e.g. walking, running, being outdoors, but since Martha arrived on the scene early in 2009 my priorities have changed and my spare time is a bit more family based. I still like my music, politics, football chat but seem to be more Twinkle Twinkle Little Star than Rock the Casbah these days. I was drawn to cohousing mainly for the community aspects of the project - watching Martha and Polly play makes me realise what a great decision it was to join.^ top
Why am I part of this? Because we are an amazing gang of wonderful, committed, visionary, exciting, kind and caring, stunningly well qualified people. Because I love community. Because I’d rather live together and make the effort to cooperate than live in not so glorious isolation with my own personal washing machine that just doesn’t have the conversational skills that I appreciate. There is a wide and rather random range of a journey tucked away in my past. I studied in Sheffield, moved a lot and then settled in Oxford, a city I still love very much. Time for living in more rural areas and in community began with 7 years in Findhorn and currently Kendal and the beauty of nature here. Work and learning have been broad ranging too, starting with chemistry, moving to something with more of a focus on care for others in social housing. Findhorn brought me into exploring a wide variety of approaches to life, spirituality, healing and international community. What I love now is meditation and teaching it; healing and offering it; community and being nourished by it; the beauty of nature and contemporary art. Playing with plants and textiles makes me happy too.^ top
I’m Luke & Elizabeth’s son. I'm ten. I like playing Minecraft with my friends. At the moment I like rugby and athletics. I'm looking forward to cohousing and I think I'll be happy there. Even though we haven't moved in I enjoy cooking and eating in the Common House.^ top
I’m in my 50s, originally from Preston, and have a daughter, Anna. I worked for years in adult education but there's no longer any funding in that. After doing a part time Ph.D. in Scottish Jewish identity at the University of Strathclyde I was lucky enough to get a job in 2011 carrying out a Scottish Government funded inquiry into the experience of Being Jewish in Scotland.
Now I live in the Cohousing project I'm still doing some work with the Scottish Jewish community and travel up to Glasgow most weeks for work.
I've spent quite a lot of time over the last ten years promoting the art of my aunt, Glasgow artist Hannah Frank, who studied at the GSA and died in 2008 at the age of 100.
Why did I want to live in the cohousing project? I always thought I’d suffer from ‘empty nest syndrome’ when my daughter left home, so I wanted to have other people around me when that happened. Though in fact my daughter has moved in with me for the first year and is doing a course at the local college!
I love the idea - now a reality - of a beautiful countryside site, sitting on my balcony looking at the river – but with people around all the time. I play English, Irish and European folk music on the melodeon and Klezmer (Eastern European Jewish) music on English concertina and hope we get lots more musicians in the project. (And more Jewish people would be great, too.... the kitchen is vegan/vegetarian...)^ top
Forge Bank is just beautiful with a mighty river and magnificent trees all around lavishing enormous amounts of oxygen and a profound sense of well-being on us all. I cant help but be inspired by the vision, passion, energy, commitment and brilliance of my co-housing friends and entertained by their antics.^ top
I am Isla but some call me Smila. I was born in April 2012 and live at Forgebank with my big sister Polly and parents Kathy and Paul. I love hanging out with my cohousing friends especially the other children. I am very lucky because there are three of us cohousing babies that were born within a month so I have two playmates the same age and lots more a bit older. I am always happy when people talk to me and I gurgle and giggle when my sister dances or splashes in the bath!^ top
I am a freelance software developer and a musician. I love to cook food for friends and family. Cooking for 40 in the common house is a bit more of a challenge but very rewarding when it all goes well. I've already sung in the common house at our first new year's eve party, and at our next one I'm hoping it will be with a cohousing band – just one of the many projects I hope will come to fruition over the coming months of living here.
I came to Forgebank because I believe that for its collective survival and individual well-being the human race has to learn to share a whole lot better than it does right now, and joining Lancaster Cohousing gives me a great opportunity to act on that belief. An eco home and a river view to wake up to each morning are welcome additional incentives.
The diversity of the group is one of the things that makes it great – we are not all super-green vegans. I eat meat and don't think to do so is necessarily wrong, and nor for that matter are GM or nuclear power. But an awful lot hangs on that "necessarily". I live with Jo, and the discovery that she is as committed to this as I am has added a new depth and richness to my love for her; it is also a mightily reassuring confirmation that this is the right thing for us to be doing.^ top
I have had a longstanding interest in things ecological since studying for my geography degree in the 1970s. I learnt about Lancaster Cohousing through my friend Margaret, who has been involved with the group from early on. My partner Ian and I were thinking about building an ecohouse ourselves but lacked the skills and the time, and this seemed a good solution: building with others. We lived in Sweden for a while, where some of the elements of Lancaster Cohousing were present in the block of flats we lived in: green energy, recycling, shared laundry room, shared cycle storage etc, but there was no sense of community; the idea of the common house seems an excellent solution.^ top
MartinMost of my life has been spent as a teacher, with interest in rural education and learning. I was born in Lancashire and feel that I have roots here, having grown my first crop of lettuce in sight of Winter Hill. An American Field Service (AFS) scholarship took me to Detroit in 1963, which provided an international dimension to the rest of my life. I married early and went with a young family to Tanzania in 1972. Understanding how technology helps determine the quality of life of rural people became a focus for my life’s learning. That allowed me to spend 16 years at the Scottish Agricultural College in Edinburgh and more recently 11 years in Chinese universities, passing on some of what I’d learnt in Scotland. Software I’ve evolved with colleagues provides a basis for optimal timing of outdoor irrigation, wherever you are in the world. Hopefully, joining the co-housing project will allow me opportunity to interact with grandchildren in a positive way. The Lancaster Cohousing connection came about through a felt need to put into practice things I was encouraging students to do in China. ^ top
CharlesI’m husband to Judy, who I met while working as a civil engineer in India in 1969, and since then, dad to a grown up son and daughter, and now with three grandchildren. We lived overseas much of the time from 1977, until returning to UK in 1988. I retired from water engineering as a Sustainable Development Director in 2008. This allows me to work on various engineering and community fronts, trying to act, learn and teach for innovation – for real sustainability, on climate change issues, and for better poverty-reducing infrastructure in developing countries. We’ve also been getting involved with local Transition Town groups. So the eco aspect of LCH was a big attraction; and cohousing living fits naturally with our wish to grow older in a supportive community, helping others and gaining help when we need it too. I’m active, luckily, and love wilderness, walking & scrambling. I’m trying to learn to paint, and occasionally sing. I’ve learnt that combining passion, expertise and pragmatism is what changes the world, and feel inspired by all the people in LCH, as an example of this. I believe that creating successful working examples of doing things differently is one key to change, and I would like to help and take part in LCH, as an example for others, too. ^ top
I work as an environmental scientist for a campaign organisation. I’m vegan and have long tried to live an eco-friendly lifestyle – so moving into a zero carbon house in a cohousing community was the obvious next step for me. I joined the project in the early days – way back in 2006 – so I’m really excited that all the hard work has now come to fruition. It’s also great to see how the project has developed. For example, now that we have office facilities I have finally been able to move my office out of my spare room! As for leisure, I enjoy 80s music, country walks, racquet sports, reading, politics and cult TV/ films. I pretend not to be interested in football or the Eurovision Song Contest...
My partner Pete had been involved with the cohousing project for a couple of years before I decided to take the plunge and joined in the summer of 2009. What attracted me initially was the ideal location of the site on the banks of the River Lune. Since then I have come to know the people who make up the cohousing group and feel I have ‘come home’ in every sense of the word. I continue to practise homeopathy from Buxton in Derbyshire, and am building my practice up at Dacrelands Therapy Centre in Lancaster as part of my transition to my new life at Forge Bank. I’m excited about the possibility of renting office space in the refurbished Mill building, and this helps with the decision to downsize from the living accommodation I have been used to. One of the many huge benefits of my change of lifestyle is that I am back on my bike again after many years of being daunted by the hills in the Peak District. I have sold my van to the Lancaster Car Club so now I have a choice of vehicles when I do need to use one for long distances.
Until recently I owned and managed The Bakewell Natural Therapy Rooms in the Peak District. I teach homeopathy, natural nutrition, naturopathy and NLP both at home and abroad. I am interested in walking, cycling, camping, outdoor swimming and visiting new places.
I love my life here on the banks of the River Lune in my wonderful PassivHaus and every day I appreciate the difference being part of this wonderful cohousing project has made to my life.^ top
I grew up in London, now live in Sheffield and had never really thought I'd live in a small village in Lancashire. I came across Lancaster Cohousing in December 2011 and it just sounded exactly what I wanted - a way to live independently yet have a connection with others. I visited soon after and was impressed with how well the group worked together, how much had been achieved and how welcoming they were. And it has always been a bit of a dream to have a river or canal at the bottom of the garden.
I work as a project manager for my local council, managing bulding projects, and have a background in architecture. I am starting a course in stained glass conservation soon so not quite sure where that will take me in terms of work, but looking forward to doing something new. I play the saxophone and am wondering what the jazz scene is like in Lancaster - I hope I can find other people to play with occasionally. I lke to get out walking in the countryside and am looking forward to exploring the Trough of Bowland and getting so easily up to the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. Who knows I might even learn to kayak and get my old bicycle out. I am buying one of the Heron Bank houses. I can't move up straight away so will be renting my house for a year or so until I can move up - if anyone is interested in this please get in touch with the project.
Kevin, my partner, and I moved into Forgebank in October 2012. It’s a big move for both of us. I have spent most of my working life as a journalist in London, mainly in television. My most infamous programme was Death on the Rock, about the shooting of three IRA terrorists in Gibraltar, which Mrs Thatcher tried to ban. Seven years ago I moved to work in communications for the NHS, and then in a University. But I missed hands on creative work so I am now setting up Forgebank Films, a cooperative making short educational and promotional videos, with Frances, a film editor and camera woman who is also part of the cohousing group - it's just one of those wonderful connections that come through cohousing. We are going to take an office in the old Mill Building, which cohousing is refurbishing to create a hub for green, community and ethical enterprises. On top of that I’m writing articles, developing organisational stories and hoping to start offering life/executive coaching.
Outside work I love to walk (especially in mountains), run (I’ve started a gentle runners group at Forgebank), sing (joined Lune Valley Singers), eat good food (ideally that someone else has cooked), dance five rhythms (one of the UK’s best teachers does occasional classes locally) and grow things (there’s the whole landscaping plan to keep me interested). I’m loving living in cohousing so far - particularly the warm houses and the view. It’s wierd, and wonderful, being in a street where you know everyone. I enjoy the easy social connections, and the fact that if I ever need anything there is someone who has it and will lend it to me - even some smart shoes when mine were missing at the bottom of a box!
I’m Jan’s daughter. I am currently studying Chemistry at university in Hull.^ top
I am Huw and Lucy’s daughter (born Feb 2009), and Eliza's big sister. I love living next door to Polly and just down the street to Erik and Reuben and lots of bigger people who give me loads of attention. I love cycling my pink bike up and down the pedestrian street and hanging out at the centre and the library in Halton. I don't like lemons. *** STOP PRESS *** I do now like lemons.^ top
I currently work in environmental research, but was previously a civil servant, a travel agent, hotel receptionist. I have a large family but not in the UK, which makes me appreciate the advantages of living in an intentional community such as this one. I like getting together with friends to cook, watch good films or play board games. I also enjoy quieter time on my own, reading science fiction books, attempting to meditate or exercising in different ways. I like being outdoors and like hiking in good company (especially since my sense of direction is so poor). I love the nearly constant temperature in our eco homes, even when it is so cold outside, and how easy it is to dry clothes.^ top
I retired from wage-earning a few years ago, and am now enjoying being able to put my energy where my passions are. I've been working in the voluntary sector under the broad umbrella of community building - for my buddhist community (Thich Nhat Hanh), and now for the co-housing group. I love to be outside, enjoy practical activities, and am just beginning to explore some right brain creative stuff. I have a daughter and a son and two new grandsons, who live in East Anglia and the South West. As soon as I heard about the cohousing group, in 2006, I knew I wanted to be part of it - without a backward glance! It combines two long term aspirations - to live more sustainably, and to be more connected to my neighbours. It feels exciting to be building our community and our houses at the same time. It is an extraordinary thing we're doing - and it's a creative process, with lots to learn. That's fun, but scarey too sometimes. Learning to trust the group mind, not being too attached to specific outcomes, being able to go with the flow - these are all helpful characteristics in striking the balance between the individual, the group and the time and budget constraints of the development project!^ top
I grew up in Lancashire, but lived down south, in Cambridge and then in Oxford, from the age of 18 until Miles and I moved to our new home at Forgebank in August 2012. I missed the north-west, and the sea, so the location of Lancaster Cohousing was one of the things which attracted me, but we hadn't planned to move. We found out about the project pretty much by chance in mid-2010, thought we'd check it out, and then the first time I stood on the footpath by the Lune the decision to move here kind of made itself.
It was the latest in a long line of unplanned life decisions that seem to have worked out ok... after a degree in social and political science, I did some travelling and worked as a technology journalist before joining Oxfam GB in 2000. Where I still work, though now from home (and soon from the Mill). I work on projects and systems to support and enable collaboration and knowledge sharing, and I'm very interested in how technology can support transformation and deliver sustainable change. Many of my colleagues think I'm a geek, but I see myself as a generalist who gets technology! I went part time in 2006, and completed an NVQ 2 in plumbing – I have always had a big thing about water. I'm now part of the team of people who keeps an eye on our lovely biomass boiler.
I read a lot of books, and I have been writing a blog since 2002. Other things I like include swimming (especially outside), saunas (especially Finnish ones), pickled vegetables (especially Turkish ones) and martinis (especially dirty ones). As for why cohousing… one of my favourite quotes is Margaret Mead’s "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."^ top
I was initially attracted to the Lancaster Cohousing project because of the low carbon lifestyle and the eco house design. I am a native Lancastrian having been born and bred in Blackpool (the Las Vegas of Northern England). I am currently working for the University of Cumbria on the West Coast of Cumbria as a sustainable engineering project manager. Prior to this I worked in the aerospace industry as a system designer and project manager of aircraft safety systems. Outside work I spend my leisure time mountaineering, both in the UK and abroad, as well as exploring the subterranean world of the Yorkshire dales. At home I watch a lot of films on DVD and have rigged up the DVD player to a digital projector and amplifier to get a cinema type experience.^ top
PaulI work part-time doing cycle mapping at the moment, and in my spare time I like to be outdoors. I am also an engineer, and I like tinkering with cars and other gadgets. ^ top
I have just moved back from Glasgow where I have been working for 6 years as a university teacher but have strong links with Lancaster, having first come to the university for a year in the early 1990s and not having left until work took me away. I'm now impatiently waiting for my wonderful new co-housing house to be ready to move into! I have for nearly 20 years been going to a cooperative community in Scotland to help with one of their annual maintenance weeks during which I really enjoy cooking vegetarian/vegan food for 40 - 50 people and am looking forward to the chance to do the same in our cohousing project. For me cohousing is about rebuilding the sort of communities that I grew up in that we seem to have lost but as I grew up near Heathrow I think, given our rural site, that I have a whole new set of skills to learn from my cohousing friends! In terms of hobbies etc I like reading (particularly crime fiction), cooking, knitting, swimming (but not in the Lune) and hope to get involved with the Grand theatre when I return to Lancaster though as a "techie" not a "luvvie" as I'm a bit of wallflower! Cohousing, for me, represents the ideal balance between my need for community and my contrasting need for private space.^ top
I am pa^ top
I am Lucy's partner and Martha and Eliza's dad. I am taking a career break in order to be a full time dad instead of a Quality Manager (I can thoroughly recommend this!) We first came across the group in 2007: I didn't know anything about cohousing but as a sciencey boy I was really attracted by eco-build. However, now we’ve had Martha and Eliza, I see the layout of the homes and the community side of the project as the biggest positive difference between us and a run-of-the-mill street – I just love being able to release Martha to run off on her own down the pedestrian street to play with Polly and her other friends.
I see our cohousing project as creating an old-fashioned street, where you can play safely in the road outside your house, and where you know your neighbours well enough to be able to borrow whatever you need from them, (but without the old-fashioned cold draughts in the lounge!) I love running and I sing in a couple of local choirs (there are zillions of choirs of all types in Lancaster!), and I have visions of setting up a cohousing choir and a cohousing running group.^ top
As the daughter of a travelling professor I got to travel widely in my childhood living in Western Australia, the USA and Thailand, and now have family at all corners of the world, which is good in some ways and not others. I returned to the UK at 17 to go to university in Scotland and then worked as a film/video editor in television for many years, based in London. Looking for a more sustainable way of living and community led me to Lancaster Cohousing, which I joined at the end of 2006, moving up to Lancaster soon after that.
I now mostly make web videos, particularly about any subject to do with sustainable lifestyles. This includes intermittent documentation of our project on video (currently working on feasibility of doing a time-lapse of the construction which would be fabulously cool!). I also like walking and cycling, and being relatively new to this beautiful part of the country, have many Wainwrights still to bag and cycle routes to try. I'm also looking forward to gardening and growing vegetables at Forge Bank, and hope to do a bee-keeping course when time permits.^ top
I am a retired lecturer in Social Anthropology. I like to offer occasional short courses for adults so might rent mill space for that. My hobbies are hill walking and scrambling, cycling, debating, writing, reading world history and eco-activism - is that a hobby? I lived in India for ten years including a year working at the Gandhi Research Institute in Benares. I have one son who is now a journalist in Indonesia so I have carbon footprint problems. For as long as I can remember I have thought it was mad to live either as an isolated couple/nuclear family or singleton.^ top
RosemaryI have lived in Lancaster for a number of years with my daughter Caiti, who is now a student in Manchester and sometimes lives at home. I’ve been a lecturer for most of my life, mainly in universities at first in Sheffield then in Lancaster, and I left full time teaching a few years ago to pursue writing and research, which means less money and stress but more time and happiness. I am a Green Party member and have been an activist in the past, mainly around women's and trade union issues. I like working with other people on shared projects, as I spend most days writing on my own. My interests and activities range across Italian and gardening, reading, swimming and cycling, cooking and travelling, writing, cinema and art. I joined Lancaster cohousing because I realise that I’d reached a turning point in my life and want to be part of a community that combines working and living together with a practical green way of life. For me it offers the best of shared living combined with a degree of privacy – and luckily it was on my doorstep! ^ top
I was initially interested in ecohousing, but the community aspect of the project makes this so exciting. I am now sharing with a lovely group of people in a beautiful setting and this was what made the decision to join the right one for us. I am an Occupational Psychologist and work around the country and often from home - which is great overlooking the Lune. Having home and office so close is great!^ top