A North West housing association is collaborating with a group of Manchester residents who want to develop their first co-housing scheme for people over 50.
Great Places Housing Group, based in the city, is working with Manchester Urban Cohousing (MUCH) to develop homes for residents aged over 50 who want to create a sustainable community, sharing some aspects of their lives whilst retaining individual private living spaces.
The aim, the organisation explains, is to create homes for residents who have chosen to work together to create an environmentally sustainable housing community, which is low cost to run, and where they can gain support from each other.
Homes England, the government’s housing agency, has awarded MUCH an £86,000 grant from its Community Housing Fund, which will help support the development in the early stages of the project.
“Signing a partnership agreement with Great Places brings us a step closer to realising our dream. We know what we want, and Great Places are committed to helping us achieve it,” said Gill Wright of MUCH.
“We are currently looking for suitable sites to purchase to move forward with the development in South Manchester. We are also keen to hear from people who are interested in joining us and be part of the project.”
Cohousing originated in Denmark in the 1960s and has since become popular in other countries including the Netherlands, Finland, Canada, and the USA. Cohousing started to develop in the UK at the end of the 1990s.
The movement has gradually built up momentum and there are now 19 built cohousing communities, only one of which is for people over 50. A further 60+ cohousing groups are developing projects and new groups are forming all the time.
The development will provide around 20 apartments, alongside shared facilities such as meeting rooms, a kitchen and dining room, gardens and roof space, and bedrooms for visitors.
The community will be a mixture of owner-occupiers, “affordable” rents and shared ownership, each with their own front door and private space.
MUCH has started working with architects, Paddock Johnson Partnership, to design their apartments and shared space, so members will be able to play a key role in the final development.
“This exciting project will be the first cohousing development in Greater Manchester,” said Peter Bojar, Great Places’ executive director of growth and assets. “We are keen to bring our expertise in housing development to work with this group of older people to create housing that will meet their needs.”
Main Image: Members of the MUCH committee.