About our cohousing community
Who we are
Postlip is an established community with its heart in the origins of the Cohousing movement. People of all generations come together to make up a “village under one roof”. Postlip’s eight families are a cohousing community living at Postlip Hall. The house is divided into eight separate living units, each with its own front door, so everybody has a private home that’s part of a much bigger cooperative framework. People move fairly freely between private life and group life and we share some communal rooms and the fifteen-acre grounds, pond, stream and kitchen garden. We don’t cook communally, but eat informally together on occasion, especially in the summer.
We enjoy one another’s company and are often in and out of each other's houses for sociability and cooperation. People also get together to play games, visit local events and generally enjoy being together.
The space and freedom make Postlip a wonderful place for children to grow up and lots of the fun involves Postlip kids – of all ages. The big trampoline is often busy. There are scratch football and cricket matches, sledging in the snow and the water slide in the sun for hordes of happily squealing children. We also have some very good parties.
How it works
Everybody contributes to running Postlip and keeping it together physically and socially. There is a lot of expertise in the group and people mostly join in with what they enjoy, but when we have to do something boring then we’re quite good at organising ourselves. We tend not to have formal leaders, but anybody who knows something is usually the centre of that activity.
Postlip makes most decisions by consensus. That is, somebody floats an idea, everybody puts in their views, we try to listen to one another, people modify their views, and gradually an agreement emerges that everyone can go along with. While often the slowest method, we think it is also the best for maintaining cooperation and community. We have a few formal rules to guide us, but try to find the best solution to each individual issue.
The house and grounds are owned by the Postlip Housing Association Limited (the members are the people who live here) and each member holds a living unit on a very long lease, which was bought at a market valuation. We each pay a monthly community charge as a share of the maintenance and administration of Postlip. When a member wants to leave, the lease requires them to offer their unit to the Association, which will always want to buy it. However, the Association can’t pay until it finds a new member who will buy the unit, which can take up to a year or so.
The Association is a bone fide co-operative society, keeping formal accounts. We elect Chair, Secretary and Treasurer(s) at an annual AGM. They run the formal administration, hold meetings, keep minutes, negotiate with suppliers and authorities, and keep our insurance and services healthy. We formally meet monthly as a Committee of Management (one person from each household). There’s also a less formal monthly Community Gathering, which includes everybody who wants to attend, and where we discuss whatever’s on our minds at the time.