About us

How do we keep it all running?

Covering the costs

The costs of running most of the common facilities are met by a monthly service charge, which we agree together every year at GM. The costs of the laundry and guest rooms are met through a charge per use. The food store and car club are run as separate not-for-profit cooperatives, and the costs are met through the pricing.

How much is the service charge?

All adult members pay for the Community Facilities. This covers insurance and maintenance of the communal buildings and their usage of electricity, water etc. It also covers a Sink Fund for replacing and refurbishing  the common areas. In 2019-20, these charges came to ₤23/month/adult. Residents who are not members (e.g. adult children) are charged when they have been resident for 6 months. No charge for under-18s.

In addition, each leaseholder pays an Occupiers Contribution to cover buildings insurance and external maintenance for the leasehold properties, and landscaping costs. The charge is calculated according to the size of the property. In 2019-20, it ranged between ₤19/month (for one-bed downstairs flats) and ₤49/month (for 3-storey houses).

How do you charge for energy?

Supply of heating, hot water, and electricity to each household is metered. Billing is quarterly.

How does the work get done?

There’s lots to be done and lots of different skills needed! Working together is a great way of getting to know each other better and building community. All members are expected to share the essential work that needs to be done to maintain the community - currently roughly 2.5 hours per adult per week. Many members also contribute extra voluntary hours!

Essential on-going work is organised in Service Teams, each with a different area of responsibility.

One-off projects are often done by volunteers in a Task and Finish group, set up specifically for a specific time-limited task. For example, there is one now to explore the possibility of buying back a home to make it available as a secure long term tenancy; and another to review our guidelines for using the Common House.

Some members also carry out work for the Car Club (maintenance of the club cars and billing), and for Halton Mill, the co-working space next door to the homes which is owned by Lancaster Cohousing. These are run as non-profit cooperatives and provide an essential part of our services.  Work done for these organisations is paid for, and does not form part of the community work contribution process.  

How is a member expected to contribute?

We’re all expected to join a Service Team and share the essential work that needs to be done to maintain the community. 

This is currently (March 2020) set at 2.5 hours per adult per week, accepting that people may be unable to contribute for short periods because they are away, ill or have other issues.

All members are expected to contribute to common meals by cooking and clearing up as part of a team. We also contribute to cleaning the common areas on a 6 monthly rota basis.

Do people gift time?

Many people also gift work and time to the community to provide something they think will be useful or that just adds to the joy of life. This could be odd jobs for neighbours, offering a social or creative activity (such as the Craft Ceilidh) or helping to host a party (eg Hallowe’en shinnanigans, Mardi Gras and New Year Revue).

Do you offer paid work?

If there’s something that needs doing but we don’t have the capacity, we occasionally pay people to help us. For example, we have part-time help with the accounts, and we pay someone to cut our meadows once or twice a year, since, sadly, our team of scythers has dwindled. If the opportunity for paid work arises, it is advertised first within the community.