First co-op resident moves into Loftus garden village
A Newport street dedicated to ‘cooperative housing’, at Loftus Garden Village, welcomed its first resident this month.
Jane Karagianis was browsing the usual online property finders when she stumbled across Loftus Garden Village – she had no preconceptions about either the village or co-operative housing, having heard of neither previously. Now Jane is the first of the residents to move in, with her co-operative neighbours due to join her over the coming weeks.
Jill Stringfellow, co-operative coordinator at Charter Housing (part of Pobl Group) has been instrumental in getting the cooperative off the ground and said:
“Creating the cooperative alongside the residents has been a challenging yet exciting journey, and it’s especially rewarding to see Jane ecstatically happy in her beautiful new home!”
“The co-operative is a group of people who own their homes and control the way their housing is run, with each member having a legal responsibility to each other, bound through the Rules of the Co-operative. Developing a culture of transparency and openness, whilst respecting confidentiality from the outset is absolutely essential”.
“It has been a real pleasure to be a part of this unique project and I know from the passion and drive shown by all involved, the co-operative will go from strength to strength”.
“Loftus Village Association Housing Co-operative” is legally responsible for the day to day running of 19 of the total 250 affordable ‘arts and craft’ style homes on the garden village. The co-operative will be managed by a committee of up to 12 residents. The collection of rent, drafting of policies and schedules and organising the creation of a community vegetable garden all fall within its remit, with Charter Housing and the Wales Co-operative Centre providing the training where necessary.
The group are chomping at the bit to explore other innovative ways to create a safe and caring neighbourhood, increased efficiencies and saving money on the cost of running their homes. A popular recent decision implemented by the group has been to introduce a rent free month in January each year.
Whilst the majority of the co-operative homes have been purchased through Serenliving’s shared ownership scheme, a unique ‘multi tenure co-operative model’ was specifically created for Loftus Garden Village Housing Co-operative.
Jane Karagianis, an admin worker from Rougemont School purchased a 1 bedroom coach house apartment, and is very enthusiastic about both her home and the community-focused style of living. Jane said: “I was initially bowled over by the quality of the build and felt the garden village was a very special place, definitely something I wanted to buy into”.
“I have been involved with the co-operative since January and am privileged to have be appointed their nominated Chairperson”.
“Residents have already formed a close bond, helping and advising each other throughout the process. I believe we have a collective commitment and passion to creating a caring and trusting community that will flourish and everybody will be proud to be a part of”.
Jane is very excited about the future, she doesn’t want the co-operative to exist as a community within a community but as an inclusive organisation who work together for the greater good, and who can plan social events involving the wider garden village. They have already linked with a co-operative energy supplier to reduce the cost of their energy bills.
The Newport project which is supported by the Welsh Government, Wales Co-operative Centre and Newport City Council is one of three co-operative housing pilot projects across Wales. £800,000 of Social Housing Grant enabled the development to be affordable for people on low incomes.
Loftus Garden Village is being constructed by local builder Lovell.