Back in 1998 a group of six older women got together in the hope of changing the way they would live in their later years. The group had a clear vision, to be in a community of like-minded women, to maintain their independence and privacy, but to be able to call upon the community for support and social contact when needed.
The women founded the "Older Women's Co-Housing" (OWCH) group and were inspired by the success of senior housing projects developed in The Netherlands. Having seen that such communities did exist, they embarked on an 18 year journey to realise their dream.
The dream has indeed become a reality. In the summer of 2016 a purpose-built block of flats in North London was completed and ready for the members of the OWCH group to move into. The development offers 17 flats for sale and 8 for social rent to women over 50 who are members of the OWCH. The journey to get to this point has bee long and sometimes painful, not least because this is an unfamiliar housing model and has required the input of so many different parties.
There is so much more to this story and I can't really do it justice in just a few words but it is a very important story that needs to be heard. How we choose to reside in our later lives is a concern for us all but there is little choice, especially for thoe without financial means.
What these women have achieved is inspiring, what we need now is for co-housing to be adopted and developed to provide older people with the lifestyle they choose for themselves
in later life.
If you would like to know more about the journey of the OWCH then visit www.owch.org.uk