Hey all, we're very happy and busy and well populated right now, but we're also officially "open" for applications again. We won't be properly looking at them until the January meeting, and we probably won't schedule any membership-enquiry visits until the spring, but do get the process rolling, if you've read this website and fancy joining the project/people/place.
It's not yet clear which spaces we are recruiting for - probably "a room in the shared house" and maybe a flat. Both these possibilities need a lot of work before they're officially habitable, but taht's just the sort of work we are doing, and what any potential new member would have to help with.
We're also gathering volunteers and friends for workdays and worksweeks in the future, so get in touch if that's your bag too.
Also, we know our picture-rotation is a bit annoying, so here's a link to our more easilly explored Flickr photo-website:
So, Earthworm Housing Co-operative. What's that?
What..? A housing cooperative is a “non hierarchical property management company”. It's an organisation which lets people work together to manage the accommodation they live in without having to buy it.
Where..? We are situated in Herefordshire on the outskirts of the village of Leintwardine, close to the borders with Wales and Shropshire and very close to the River Teme. We are 8 miles from Ludlow and Knighton, 14 miles from Leominster, 25 miles from Hereford, 27 miles from Shrewsbury and our nearest big cities are about 2 hours drive away (Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool or Manchester). Herefordshire is one of the most sparsely populated counties in England, but we aren't really a remote location. For more information about our locality click on “what we offer” above and read on.
How..? Earthworm Housing Co-op has existed since 1988 when it took over the long established Wheatstone Commune (click on 'history' above if you're actually more interested in what this place used to be, than what it is now). Earthworm is a fully mutual housing co-op – all members pay rent and all members share the decisions about how this rent is spent. More about how it works in “how we self-organise” and "Work commitment", which drop down as options when you hover on "what we offer" above.
Who..?There have been over 75 members since 1988. In November 2011 there was a complete change in membership and control of the housing co-op. The current 8 members are working to refurbish and renovate the co-op, so that it becomes more comfortable, sound, fuel-efficient, stable and sustainable. We are no longer a ‘super-low-impact vegan co-op’, we use and own motor vehicles and we are committed to living and working in the buildings and on the land. There's lots more information about our plans on the rest of this website, which we hope leads to more people getting in touch with an interest in becoming members or volunteering. If you're more interested in what happened before we arrived, there's an article about the history of the place on pages 8,9 and 10 of issue 65 at the Leintwardine Life website:
The Buildings... The main property is 'Wheatstone House' which was built in 1909, along with a stable block comprising workshops with a flat above and a smaller “lodge house” which all together can be home for up to 12 adults plus children, with useful spaces left over for business and leisure. We are substantially improving the accommodation and moderately changing the layout. There is also a 30-year-old timber-framed barn, 3 polytunnels from the '90s, a hundred-year-old green house and a static caravan.
The Land.... contains a kitchen garden, a well established orchard, lots of soft fruit and mature trees. We have our own wetland system which deals with the water from washing. We also have dry-composting toilets, as the wetland currently can't deal with many heavier flushes. We are in the process of expanding the wetland system to deal with the sewage and grey water from all the buildings. There's more information about our land and our plans for it, in the “land” section on this website.
If you have never heard of “co-operatives” before, do read http://www.cda.coop/coopprinciples.htm for a very general outline of what it means to be a co-operative. The rest of this website is full of specifics about Earthworm Housing Co-operative.