The Lancaster Cohousing community consists of all the owners and tenants of Forgebank homes, and (if they so choose) the owners and tenants of Heron Bank homes. So first, check if there is a home available for sale or rent.
This section takes you through the whole process of joining Lancaster Cohousing.
Get to know us, and let us get to know you
Joining a cohousing community is a big decision. A bit like getting married! There can be great rewards, but also great pitfalls. We encourage you to come and get to know us, and let us get to know you. There are lots of ways we can help you to get a real feel for how we work together, and see if it's for you.
For example, come on one of our monthly tours, join us for a common meal or a monthly work party, come to socials and meetings, stay in the guest rooms... Try and talk to as many of us as you can to get different perspectives (including probably some contradictory ones!). The more time we can spend getting to know each other, and exploring the idea and the practicalities of living here, the better.
Please contact our Membership Team to arrange an initial visit.
Understand our key agreements
If you join, you will be signing up to the agreements that the community has made together. Essential reading for Prospective Members summarises the most significant of these and links through to the full text in the agreement documents. Please read the summary and the documents to make sure that you understand, support and are happy to abide by these agreements. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.
Meet the conditions for membership
If you have come for a visit, talked it through with other members of your household, read the essential documents, and think you'd like to apply to become a member, the next step is to email our Membership Team.
To be considered for membership, the adults in your household need to:
- Attend at least one meal or social event.
- Write a bio introducing yourself to members. What would you like us to know about you? Your history? What’s important to you? What leads you to believe cohousing life is for you? What benefits and challenges do you feel you will experience? How will you contribute to the community?
- Attend a General Meeting. These meetings are where we make our major decisions. They're held monthly, usually on Saturday on the weekend of the second Sunday of each month.
- Attend one other Service Team meeting. This can often be arranged on the same weekend as the GM.
- Satisfy yourself (and us) that you have understood and are willing to abide by our community agreements. Essential reading for Prospective Members summarises the most significant of these.
- If you are currently a car owner, and will be living in a leasehold home, agree with the Travel Service Team how you will meet your travel needs, and how you will comply with our travel plan (see explanatory note for private car owners).
- Think about how you would like to contribute to community work, and which Service Team(s) you’d be interested to join.
- Complete and return an application form.
All applicants should also come to an integration meeting. This is an opportunity to find out a lot more detail about us: how decisions are made; how community work is organised; how to access information; where and when we meet and socialise etc.
What happens to your application?
Your bio and application form are circulated to all members so everyone knows a bit about you. You will be matched up with a ‘buddy’ - a community member who acts as your first point of contact and guide through the process of applying to join.
Meanwhile, the Membership Team reviews your application and, when you have completed all the conditions for membership (see above), presents it to a General Meeting (GM). It is for all members at the GM to make the decision whether to accept your application. The decision will be coloured by the experience of the members you have encountered: for example, how have you engaged with the application process? do you seem realistic about the benefits and challenges of living at Forgebank? do you share our aspirations? Occasionally, we have delayed the decision and asked an applicant to spend longer getting to know us and finding out how the community works first.