We believe that the new story of our times is about creating community.
Most people - like us!- are longing for more connection in their lives: to each other and nature.
Our goal is to create a Sussex-based community that will care for the land,
design and build ecologically friendly homes and generate warm social ties.
We are working with A Fairer Society, the community housing solution provider, to make this a reality.
We dream of a place where our children can roam free and everyone can contribute to a thriving creative environment based on the principles below.
In its broadest sense, every member of the community has a conscious ‘civic-mindedness’ or a willingness to proactively engage in community-affirming activities that benefit all.
Our community makes decisions and resolves differences based on a tried and tested group consensus process loosely modeled on the Sociocracy method. Joining us means a willingness to engage in these processes when required.
Make it beautiful
Our homes and surrounds are beautiful and maintained that way by everyone in the community.
Celebrations and ritual at seasonal turning points as well as weekly meals anchor the community.
We are committed to using the latest eco friendly building materials and techniques. We want to be part of the solution rather than the problem in the way we consume energy, resources and deal with waste.
We encourage creative enterprise as a means of creating vibrancy in our community and as a potential source of income.
Meet The Team
From permaculture expertise to entrepreneurial know-how and therapeutic wisdom, we bring a wide range of skills and knowledge to support our vision.
Lucy has spent most of her adult life living and working in Holland, Spain and Argentina in permaculture, yoga and teaching English. She now lives in Forest Row, where she continues to work with the natural environment. She and her partner would love for their daughter to grow up in a supportive, creative and deeper state of connection to all life. Her superpowers include making things grow, helping nature regenerate and bringing a creative, grounded approach to action.
Dylan is a psychotherapeutic counsellor with a practice in Lewes, where he has lived for the past 20 years. As father to two small girls, he wants them to grow up in a community surrounded by supportive relationships. He previously worked in publishing, as a writer, and ran a sport events business. Human diversity is a passion of his, and he hopes to see this reflected in Heartward. He has no superpowers, but can build a mean spreadsheet.
Sarah is a psychotherapist and was formerly a PR consultant, so has always been interested in relationships and connecting. She is keen to develop a sustainable community that is match fit for the 21st century and the challenges we face. She wants to parent in community and for her daughter to grow up in a more interconnected world. Her superpowers include deep listening, word magic and community building.
Sandra was born in South Africa and has travelled widely. Her background is eclectic, including careers in weaving, performance art, Jeet Kune Do, graphic design and IT. She has exhibited her photography in London and Toronto, but since 2007 has knuckled down to the craft of writing fiction and memoir. She is also passionate about animal welfare. She has been living with chronic illness for 25 years, and it's important to her that Heartward as a cohousing group can embrace and include disability.
David is a therapist and teacher, and is passionate about health and well-being both for the individual and at the community level. He has a background in theatre and film, and developed Body Resonance, a consciousness-based approach to healing. His work has taken him all over the world and he is delighted to find community in Sussex. He is trained in Sociocratic governance principles.
What kind of legal ownership structure will you have?
As cohousing is still relatively new and under-represented in the UK, each community has to forge its own legal and financial model. We have decided that Mutual Home Ownership (MHO) is a pioneering new ownership structure that meets our values. We chose this model after lengthy research and visits to established cohousing communities.
The basic framework is that residents belong to an MHO Society who owns the land, houses and common house. Membership of the MHOS gives members democratic control of their housing. All residents pay 35% of their net incomes to the MHOS to "rent" their properties. These payments cover the cost of the Society's mortgage and running/maintenance costs. Any surplus funds go 50% to purchase equity shares, and 50% to provide funds to the society. Once equity shares to the full value of the house have been bought, the payments from each home reduce to 10% of income. The value of the equity shares purchased will rise in value over time, linked to the rises in local wages.
Lilac is a great cohousing project in Leeds that has successfully implemented this. They have lots of resources here.
How many households will you have?
Up to 25 households.
To what extent will you be an eco-friendly, sustainable community?
Sustainability, one of our founding principles, is integral to the way we approach all aspects of the way we build and live as a community. It is our direction of travel.
We are committed to reducing our energy consumption through models such as passivhaus and effective solutions in terms of provision of energy for a community rather than individual houses.
With regard to the building of our homes and communal structures we are confident we can find cost-effective ways to achieve this. The growth of eco design/building expertise in the UK building trades as well as the higher availability of eco-materials used in recent years has grown significantly.
We prioritise local and seasonal produce/food production over organic food from far away places, thereby supporting small food produce businesses with our custom/wholesale purchases. We are also committed to setting aside some of the site for food production. The trajectory for this being that over the years our onsite food production will steadily increase. It is important to us to minimise waste and reduce our carbon footprint. Sharing resources as a community will enable us to do that, through recycling and reuse schemes, car pools, composting and exploring the possibility of water recycling schemes. The long -term vision is to live as off-grid as possible. A community fund will be set up to help move us steadily towards this goal.
Regular participation from everyone as well as monthly work days will help keep this principle close to our hearts.
Would you like to join us?