UK Cohousing Network
The UK Cohousing Network was established following the UK’s first Cohousing Conference in Lancaster in 2007, to promote awareness of cohousing and support the development of new cohousing communities.
The UK Cohousing Network is a membership organisation with a mission to enable communities to use the cohousing principles to create better places to live by reducing isolation and loneliness, and by sharing facilities and services reduce living costs.
UKCN is a resource for members interested in Cohousing, enabling them to share information, advertise related services and connect up to discuss shared issues and learning. Our primary focus is to find ways to make cohousing more accessible, and to help shape the policy and public funding environment to achieve this goal.
The Network has access to a range of associate advisors and consultants with direct experience of co-creating with groups and making a success of community living and community owned assets and enterprise.
The UK Cohousing Network is a Company Limited by Guarantee. No 06313462. Registered address: 10 Marmalade Lane Cambridge, England, CB4 2ZE
Contact the Network via the contact form. The Network is funded by its membership fees.
The Directors are elected from the membership and are responsible for the management of the Company’s business.
UK Cohousing Network Directors and Cohousing staff (from June 2023)
Owen Jarvis, CEO of UK Cohousing Network
Owen Jarvis, CEO, has led social sector organisations over the last 20 years focusing on points of growth and change. He came to UKCN with experience of living in housing co-operatives and ecovillages. As a NESTA funded Clore Social Leadership Fellow, he authored a paper demonstrating how housing associations can scale new ideas by working with innovators and entrepreneurs. He has a masters degree from the University of Cambridge Business School, leading to a publication on social enterprise Organisational Science. He is also a Winston Churchill Fellow spending time with leaders in successful social and community ventures in Australia and the United States.
Frances Wright, Company Secretary, Director (Cambridge K1 Cohousing)
I first became interested in cohousing at the time Spring Hill was being built. I really want to support others to achieve their dreams and for cohousing to became a realistic option for many more people. I was involved with Oxford Cohousing before moving to join Cambridge Cohousing’s K1 project just before the tendering process for an enabling developer. I moved into the community in December 2018. I took the decision recently to resign from my work as Director HR & Governance of a national learning disability charity to work with TOWN in a role focused on their work with other cohousing projects. I am now slowly developing my understanding of the developer perspective.
Barbara Simpkins, Director (Cannock Mill Cohousing)
I’ve been a member of Cannock Mill cohousing since its inception about 15 years ago (I have tried to stop counting the years!). I was Chair for the first few years, established sub groups, organised an away day to help build and sustain the organisation by sharing the workload and integrating new and old members into a cohesive organisation. I’ve been an active member of the finance subgroup and drafted our successful major bid to the Homes and Communities Agency. Since the development at Cannock Mill has taken off, I have participated in other subgroups, particularly the garden, social and legal ones. Although now retired, I spent my working life in community economic development and was CEO of a third sector organisation so becoming involved in cohousing is a natural extension of my working life.
Dr Simon Bayly, Director (Copper Lane Cohousing)
I am a resident co-founder of Copper Lane Cohousing in London and Reader in Drama, Theatre and Performance at the University of Roehampton. My work as an academic researcher converges with my lived experience of cohousing in a long-standing engagement with intentional communities as experimental spaces for collective learning and mutual aid. I have a particular interest in grass-roots forms of organizing, the psychodynamics of non-hierarchical groups and the development of the role of social enabler, both in support of new community-led housing initiatives and in shaping the ways in which they subsequently interact with their wider neighbourhoods. As a director of UKCN, I am committed to the contribution we can make in supporting community-led housing projects and allied ways of thinking that engage a range of interlocking contemporary issues, from the the crises of the climate emergency and affordable UK housing to rising levels of social isolation, loneliness and psychological distress.
Paul Jennings, Director (Cirencester Cohousing)
Paul Jennings is an engineer and the most experienced airtightness tester in the UK, working on most UK Passivhaus projects, including Halton Cohousing and Cannock Mill Cohousing. He has been involved in cohousing for decades, after an early visit to Postlip Hall (outside Cheltenham). The attitudes and behaviour of the teenagers growing up there provided a dramatic contrast to the delinquent teenagers he was then working with through the Youth at Risk charity in London. After several false starts, he was a founder member of the Trelay community, near Bude in Cornwall, and is currently working on the newbuild Cohousing scheme in Cirencester and on rural refurbishment cohousing with Jackie Carpenter in Cornwall.
Rachel Douglas, Director (New Ground Cohousing)
I first became involved with the Older Women’s CoHousing scheme in 2002 and saw it through about 14 tortuous years of development before we finally moved into the newly built New Ground in December 2016. During that period I reached retirement age and sold the business I had started from scratch, which was a violin dealership. This bought, sold and restored good quality older violin family instruments and those made by contemporary craftsman. After retirement I spent 3 months each year for 5 years working in a school in Kolkata helping with administrative jobs, as well as undertaking other voluntary work in this country. 6+ years of living in New Ground has only increased my commitment to cohousing and the desire to spread the word about it.
Dan Dunleavy, Director appointed specialist
Dan has a commercial track record in the international technology business. He has a keen interest in eco-housing and cohousing. He currently lives and works in central London.
Sacha Woolham, Director (Hope Cohousing)
Sacha Wollham has global experience in innovative product and service delivery. Currently working on the Hope Cohousing project in the Orkney Islands, she has first hand experience of the complexities of developing housing.
Jenny Borden, Director (Swansea Co-housing)
Co-founder of Swansea Co-housing
Jenny Borden, Director (Still Green Cohousing)
After visiting a cohousing community in Canada with friends in 2011, we became involved in Still Green, a Quaker inspired cohousing group in Milton Keynes for over 50s, and in Cohousing Woodside. In 2020 when our options at Still Green continued to look some years away we took the opportunity to move to Marmalade Lane in Cambridge, where we now live. Still Green is now progressing. After several unsuccessful attempts to acquire land it is working with the developer TOWN, and is part of a wider Love Wolverton regeneration scheme. With planning permission obtained in August 2021 the group is now engaging in a design and build exercise led by TOWN with all the challenges of financial viability and gaining group consensus for the many decisions. Practical completion is expected at the end of 2024.
Julian Brooks, Director (Bridge Farm Cohousing)
Julian has spent nearly four decades in the construction industry working in the private, public and charitable sectors, he has been actively involved in environmental/construction issues since the mid 90s, has co-authored two publications on sustainable construction, was a qualified BRE EcoHomes/Code Assessor, jointly won a CIOB Innovation & Research Award for his work on daylight/sunlight modelling software, was a CABE (now Design Council) Enabler and ran his own Built Environment Energy/Sustainability Consultancy. Julian was also the 1st Project Manager for the Somerset Trust for Sustainable Development (Ecos Trust) and Chairman of Ecos Homes. Julian is currently the Programme Director at the Good Homes Alliance and is currently chair of Bridge Farm (Drayton) Cohousing project, a rural retrofit/conversion scheme of 12 homes, common house and 8 acres of land. Julian is very keen to see greater diversification of housing supply and delivery including more cohousing schemes being promoted and sought by Local Authorities.
Neil Stephens, Director, appointed specialist (Chair)
Passionate about Sustainable Architecture, Passivhaus and all things Co-housing. Firm believer of Housing for the people by the people. I'm also a Senior Architect at MDR Associates Architects.