New Ground, the first senior cohousing community in the country, pioneered by specialist housing charity, Housing for Women and Older Women’s Cohousing (OWCH) won two awards at this year’s Housing Design Awards.
This is the first development of its kind in the UK and provides a senior cohousing community, for women aged 50-87, eight of whom are Housing for Women tenants.
Having lived mostly alone all over London the women were aware that advancing old age could mean increased frailty and possible isolation and loneliness. They joined forces to plan ahead, stay in charge of their own lives and form a self-managing community, based on the shared values of neighbourliness and mutual support.
Working closely with architects, New Ground was designed to create a shared building where an individual’s privacy is respected but communal amenities and support are available and managed by the residents.
The shared spaces at the entrance are the hub of the community, with a sociable common house meeting room, kitchen and generous dining area. There are also other practical amenities like a laundry and drying space arranged around the mews courtyard. The large central garden is the focal point, with a secret ‘culture’ garden and craft shed tucked into a more remote corner of the site.
In the short time since they moved in, the women have established a lively mix of sociability and shared activity plus clear boundaries for personal space and a private life. They intend to look out for each other and share resources as well as reach out to their local community.
Watch a video about the award winning scheme here