February 2022

We fielded a couple of queries from folks who are distant, but thinking of moving to the area – a couple from Kent, and someone from Oz!

One of us attended a Zoom coffee evening put on by the UK Cohousing Network (UKCN). Representatives from Bridport Cohousing were talking about their experience with Sociocracy, which I take to be a way to efficiently structure Consensus Decision Making. Apologies if I’ve oversimplified these two concepts beyond recognition!

We’ve done more work sorting out and debugging our IT infrastructure. We’ve merged our bank accounts and are in the process of ironing out the relative financial contributions of the two original groups. We’ve had some run-throughs of our financial model, which has revealed some bugs, weaknesses, and things that just need to be thought about a bit more. Getting there ;o)

One of us spotted a very interesting property that has been vacant for some years. It turned out to be the old Billesley Police Station. Taking our cue from that, one of us has created a list of all Birmingham Police Stations that have been shut down in the last ten years. Should make for interesting reading…

Two of us had an extremely positive meeting with Bournville Village Trust (BVT), which is a Housing Association (HA) with knobs on! We want to partner with an HA so they can: act as a Registered Provider (RP) for the social housing aspect of our community; perhaps funnel prospective members our way (who would go through the normal membership process); and fund the construction of the proportion of the community which is given over to social housing members. BVT can’t offer us a partnership within the next several years; nevertheless, it was very heartening to see the solid commitment that the Chief Executive and the Director of Communities have to seeing a wide variety of self-build projects come to fruition. They gave us some useful leads which we will follow up.

Last but not least there was a mini social, which included, amongst other things, the lopping of dead branches at one of our homes, followed by a lunch of spicy Indian treats and an investigative trip to the old Billesley Police Station site.

It’s all feeling like we’re getting back some of the pre-Covid wind beneath our wings ;o)

Published by CoHoWM

Cohousing West Midlands is (surprise) a cohousing project for the West Midlands! Cohousing is where everyone has their own front door, but there's also a community house for weekly shared meals and activities, and other shared spaces. More than a Housing Association, and less than a co-op!

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