Symposium provides insight into Intentional Communities
Last week, the Intentional Communities Research and Enterprise group at Cardiff Met University hosted its second symposium entitled ‘Intentional Communities – Living the Good Life’, on the theme of sustainability and low impact living.
The day consisted of presentations from academics and researchers with expertise in the field, and a series of themed workshops from practitioners, which culminated in a panel discussion where we had the opportunity to put our questions to those who can help get things started, such as finance, planning and even Eco Homes (see www.jennypickerill.info and https://naturalbuild.wordpress.com/ )
I attended the workshops and learning circles, introducing the different models for communal lending where Blase Lambert, Chief Officer from the Confederation of Co-operative Housing, outlined the different structures that groups can take in order to get themselves off the ground and in a position to receive loans and grants for communal projects. The key stages/issues, funding a scheme and development/long-term modeling were all explained.
There were detailed questions around a diverse range of issues, including:
- ‘Existing Use Value – Social Housing’
- how being a limited company can restrict access to funding
- co-ops don’t pay Corporation Tax except on bank interest earned
- equity co-ops can’t be charities
- Britain focusing on rental co-ops rather than ownership
- the value of planning and community
- ‘loan to value’
- venture capitalists
- ‘Best consideration’ or Social Value Act
- Public Works Loan Board
- stress testing a business plan to breaking point
- and ‘Hobbit House’ (the Welsh Government’s Technical Advice Note (TAN) 6 was discussed in relation to this issue).
There were other workshops on developing co-sufficiency, surviving communal living, and making a One Planet application. The symposium was followed by a social meeting in the evening, hosted by One Planet Council intended for those who are interested in group OPD, eco-villages or other forms of community.
I look forward to attending the third symposium next year.