We wrote a few years ago on these pages about OWCH (Older Womens Co-Housing), a group of women over fifty in the UK who set their sights on creating their own community in a custom designed block of flats in Union St., High Barnet, N. London. The point of this development was to create a co-housing alternative to either corporate-run housing or living alone. Called New Ground Cohousing, they got approval in April of 2013 to develop a twenty-five apartment mixed-tenure establishment. This “for us by us” effort represents one of the most impressive examples of Boomer aged women banding together to cooperatively define their own futures. After almost 4 years, construction is now complete and OWCH members began moving into their new homes just a few months ago. Their dream is being realized at long last. Roommates4Boomers offers many congratulations to the amazing women of OWCH.
The organizers of OWCH share this: “We are carving out a path for others in our age group to follow. We hope they have an easier journey than us, now we have shown the way. The senior cohousing community could enrich the last years of many, and reduce pressures on health and care services, if local authorities, planners, policy makers and developers helped remove the many obstacles society puts in its way.”
In total, OWCH offered 17 flats on 250-year leases and 8 on social rent, and all were snapped up by women eager to live in community. Currently there are no vacancies, but the group will shortly be accepting non-resident memberships for women interested in cohousing who would like to keep in touch with the group. They say on their website that they’ll begin this process later in Spring 2017. Members of the circle will be the first to be informed if a vacancy occurs.
Here’s what OWCH says about membership in their group:
Any woman over 50 from any background or culture
Women who want to live in London.
Women who want to buy or are eligible for social rent.
Women who enjoy both privacy and the company of like-minded women.
Women who are prepared to commit themselves to the group’s values.
Women who are prepared to participate actively in the management and policy of the group.
Women are invited to attend some OWCH meetings and activities before committing themselves to membership. Membership fees are kept as low as possible