South Downs Eco Housing Co-operative have found an initial site on the edge of Brighton with three hectares of downland. Unfortunately, the site we’ve purchased so far will not offer housing potential for more than a few members in a shared house, but we remain determined to look for other opportunities to pursue a longer term cohousing project for 10-20 households. We are still interested in getting to know people who would like to get involved in this longer term project,.
At the same time, we intend to develop the existing site as an initial project, to explore, demonstrate and share different dimensions of change and sustainable living such as: local food production and consumption, appropriate environmental technology, care for wildlife and biodiversity, eco-sustainable and affordable building design and interconnected community processes from the local to the global. The project will have an educational focus, and contribute to community enjoyment of the South Downs.
The Cooperative was formed in December 2012 by a group of friends who share the desire to demonstrate that it’s possible to transform our way of living together. In 2013 we legalised our organisation as a fully mutual housing cooperative. This means that our project will be jointly owned in perpetuity by the cooperative.
Our current members have worked in different global contexts through social movements, community projects and municipal partnerships. We have focused on gender and empowerment, organisational process, fair trade, participatory and formal education, feminism, psychology, spirituality, architecture, art, photography, media, literature, translating and interpreting. The founders are all bilingual English-Spanish.
We have established a “friends group”, made up of people who share our basic values and are interested in contributing to our initiatives and process. The group will offer the opportunity for coop and friends to get to know each other prior to a membership application, for which a defined period as a friend will be a prerequisite. Others will be friends in order to contribute or become involved without becoming members. The friends group is not a decision-making space, but the cooperative is interested in listening to its proposals. People wishing to become friends are asked to submit a paragraph answering three questions,
- Why are you interested in this initiative?
- How does it fit into your life?
- What would you bring to enrich it?
The cooperative members will meet prospective friends before considering their request, and acceptance requires the agreement of all members. The enlargement of cooperative membership will be a gradual process, as the project develops. In the meantime we will create an email list to keep you informed, and register the names and contact details of those who have shown an interest.