Cohousing Woodside invites anyone local who is interested or just curious to come join us for a picnic (bring own food and chair). We shall be in the clearing near the cafe in Highgate Woods this coming Sunday 7 June, from 2.30-4.30pm.
Cohousing Woodside members are keen to meet our future neighbours. We can also tell you about the cohousing scheme and update you on progress on the St Luke’s hospital site. You can find us by looking out for our banner (and possibly a gazebo).
When I was accepted onto the Big Lunch Extra (BLE) camp held in November at the Eden Project in Cornwall, I had little idea what to expect from the 4 day weekend. As I write this blog in late December 2014, I still feel that I am processing my experience of the event. The organisers were intent on creating an event that inspired us to go back to our different corners of the UK as disciples for the pleasures of community collaboration, committed to community activism (as opposed to ‘volunteerism’), accessing our creativity to build and strengthen our communities. BLE events can be so many different things to different people and the November camp was 80 strong.
A good proportion of the participants had already had experience of organising a ‘Big Lunch’ in their street although others were, like myself, much newer to the ‘big lunch’ idea but brought experiences of developing initiatives such as friendship networks, community gardening and food schemes, gay and lesbian projects, home education networks, to name just a few. Some were there simply to look for ideas about what they might do to build a stronger sense of ‘community’ in their own neighbourhood. At different sittings my colleague and I introduced the concept of cohousing to our various audiences. The concept went down well as cohousing principles have, at its heart, aims of encouraging collaboration, stimulating exploration of more creative and sustainable ways of living, and working towards the reduction of isolation and loneliness.
What the staging of the Big Lunch Extra ‘boot camp’ and the passion and enthusiasm it generated amongst organisers and participants alike conveyed to me was the existence of a wider-held, cross-generational and urgent desire to address feelings of fragmentation, lack of creativity and wastefulness in 21st century urban living. I was ‘expelled’ from ‘Eden’ with some ideas for activities that might work well for Cohousing Woodside’s group building efforts. Perhaps my most enduring reflection was of the way in which the gradual evolution of cohousing seems to be coming into alignment with a newer ‘energy of the moment’, an energy inspired by past environmental and political campaigns but which urgently seeks to translate into contemporary practice for more satisfying ways of living in our multi-cultural society.
Now that planning permission for the St Luke’s project has been confirmed and the construction work is out for tender, the site will soon see a great deal of preparatory activity. Cohousing Woodside takes advantage of these last months of quiet and has organised a site visit meeting for all those interested in joining us.
This meeting will be on Sunday 1 June, starting earlier than usual at 4pm.
Gather at the Woodside Avenue entrance by Symmonds House at 3.55pm and we shall take everyone on a guided tour to the cohousing site. With luck we shall have access to the ‘secret garden’ and some parts of the site currently denied to the public.
Sunday 1 June happens to be the day of the Big Lunch, a nationwide event aiming to get neighbours together in a simple act of community and fun. Our session is not timed for the midday lunch, more the 4pm high tea. Bring a chair each, finger food and juices to share. When we pause for our ‘picnic’ visitors will have the opportunity to find out more about our progress on growing the cohousing community in Muswell Hill.
Undeterred by weather
Woodside Avenue (Symmonds Houseentrance)
St Luke’s mental hospital, London N10 3HU 4 – 5.30pm