Birchwood Hall Community

Location
WR13 5EZ

Electronic Mail info@birchwoodhall.org.uk
Year started
1970
Situation
Rural
Number of over 18s
18
Number of under 18s
2
Ideological focus
None
Legal structure
industrial and provident society
Open in principle to new members
yes
Charge visitors
no
Work in Lieu
no

SUMMARY: We live as a communal household (over two buildings) because this meets many of our personal and political needs and beliefs. We do not try to be self-sufficient, although a number of us enjoy growing organic vegetables. We have a broad sympathy for many green and feminist ideas and values, but beyond that baseline we are a fairly varied group. The key to our success and stability is that we like each other!

THE PEOPLE: The community currently consists of eleven resident adults and three children who live here all or most of the time. We span a wide age range, and we enjoy entertaining friends, relatives and other visitors, so the household can sometimes be quite busy! Most community members have some form of paid employment, whether part-time or full-time, and some work from home.

OWNERSHIP: As a housing cooperative, we own our land and buildings as a group, but no individual member has equity in the property. We each pay a weekly rent, partially income-related, that covers most of the household costs. Our aim is that Birchwood is an affordable place for anyone to live.

THE PLACE: Birchwood Hall Community consists of a large Victorian house and a Coach House as living space, with eight acres of grounds (garden, woodland, orchard, volleyball court and outbuildings). We also have a small 20-bed residential centre called “Anybodys Barn”, run as a separate charity. Each member is entitled to his or her own room, and we all share a variety of communal spaces. Some members have office or workshop space within the community.

LOCATION: Birchwood Hall is on top of a ridge, four miles from Malvern, eight miles from Worcester and 18 miles from Hereford. There are lovely views, but limited public transport and lots of hills to bike up, hence most of us drive cars.

DAY-TO-DAY: Because many of us work outside the community and some of us lead very busy lives, members need to be fairly self-reliant. We are good at providing support in time of need – but not necessarily on an everyday basis! We eat our evening meal together every day – a key part of the communal experience – and we make decisions by consensus and discuss current issues at weekly meetings. But the community is not a “project” – it is a home for the members who live here.

THE FUTURE: Because we have only recently integrated the Coach House within the community, and are in the midst of a project to create more living space there, this is a time of change for us. We are currently assessing how our two buildings will work together in the context of the longer-term future of the community.

NEW MEMBERS: We’re currently in the process of looking for new members. However, please don’t expect to move in tomorrow; we need to get to know each other over quite a long period, for your benefit as well as ours, to make sure your joining the community will work for everyone.

WHAT NOW?: If you would like more information or want to enquire about the steps involved in joining Birchwood Hall Community, send us an email (info@birchwoodhall.org.uk), and tell us something about yourself and why you are interested in communal living.

community shares income to some extent
community does not require capital from members
community has broadband internet access
community generates some of its own electricity
community uses solar energy
community buildings insulated to a high standard
community members use bicycles
community does not have an organised system for car sharing
community is not accessible by public transport
community shares utilities
community has tool sharing system
community has organised systems for recycling
community has some kind of ecosewage system
community is not involved in land management
community grows a lot of vegetables
no communal animals
regular communal meals
community has policy which restricts smoking
community buildings at least partly wheelchair accessible
community is not involved in campaigning

Diggers & Dreamers
care of BCM Edge
London
WC1N 3XX
United Kingdom

info@diggersanddreamers.org.uk

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Birchwood Hall Community is currently looking for new members

My name is Rosie, and I used to live at Birchwood Hall Community until I moved away to take up a new job. I was really sad to leave as it’s an extraordinary place to live, for very un-extraordinary reasons. People are very genuine, respectful of each other’s space, and always ready to have fun. It was amazing to live in an environment with people who care about each other, and look out for each other in tricky times. Everyone eats together in the evenings, and this is an important part of community life. I miss the gentle mix of organisation and flux, the conversation, the laughs, the dry humour, the salad from the garden, but most of all the people. Birchwood is a wonderful place to live, and there is currently room for more members. Please send an e-mail to tell them about yourself if you’re interested in living communally, and they’ll take it from there. The members living at Birchwood Hall will look forward to hearing from you.

Send them a message:
info@birchwoodhall.org.uk

Birchwood Hall Community is currently looking for volunteers

Send them a message:
info@birchwoodhall.org.uk