Dol-llys Housing Limited was formed in 1992 by 6 families to purchase the house, originally a regency country house but then empty and owned by Powys County Council, and 14 acres of grounds. Dol-llys Housing Ltd was legally established as a fully mutual housing co-operative as this was the most appropriate way to make a shared purchase.
In character, life at Dol-Llys has developed to be more in line with the co-housing movement; we are a member of the UK Cohousing Network. A key difference is that we are not an “intentional community” in the general ideological sense; we don’t have a shared religious, political, environmental or social ideology. The aim of the original purchasers was to find an affordable way to live in a beautiful home rather than to create and live in a community. However, the sharing aspect was recognised as a bonus and this remains true today. We have our own private space and enjoy and benefit from sharing resources and space, working and eating together once a month and having friendly neighbourly relationships. This leaflet from the UK co-housing network sums up a lot about how our life here works.
Our “Living at Dol Llys” page give more information about what life here is like and how it might be different from what you are used to.
Dol Llys Hall is comprised of seven flats. Six flats are occupied by loan stock holders who have occupancy rights and one is rented under a tenancy agreement. At present there are 9 adults ( 7 women and 2 men) and 2 children living at Dol-llys; we cover three generations! It is our full time home. We have three communal rooms consisting of two large rooms for every day informal use, meetings, planned social occasions and a weekly Pilates class and also a guest bedroom. We also share a heating system, a laundry, a parking area, the gardens, grounds and polytunnels, a workshop and cellar space.
Some households share the care and eggs from a small flock of chickens and a small group keep bees. Unlike purpose built co-housing developments we do not have a “common house”. The development and use of communal areas by any member is by agreement with others.
We have varied outlooks and lifestyles. Some work full time, some part time and some are retired. Present residents have worked or are working in counselling, engineering, higher education, nursing, social work and social care, public sector policy, retail and teaching.
We use rotas for sharing out routine weekly or daily tasks such as cleaning communal areas, putting the bins out and opening and closing the poly tunnels. We have monthly business meetings to discuss and agree things that affect all of us and the work to be done on our monthly work days. The chairing of these meeting is done on a rotation basis. Work days are for completing maintenance tasks, DIY or other improvements such as clearing the stream, painting the house and maintaining our Victorian sewerage system. Our aim is to make work days social and productive and we take turns to provide lunch and refreshments for the group.
To ensure the smooth running of our home and of the Co-operative members contribute by taking on a specific or lead roles in various areas. Currently these are as Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Membership Secretary, Utilities, Woodland Management, Building Maintenance, Garden Maintenance, Grounds Maintenance, House-keeping, Landlord Liaison for the rented flat and Website Maintenance. We also have a more formal Annual General Meeting of the Co-operative.
There are also occasional, unplanned get-togethers for morning coffee on the veranda or something stronger on warmer evenings. Past social events, organised by the social secretary, have included music recitals, a harvest supper, poetry nights and barbeques when the weather allows it. We usually hold a winter and/or summer party sometimes with live music for ourselves and our friends, family and neighbours. We recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Dol Llys Housing Co-operative.
There are also Wood Days, where we work together to process logs for our wood burners,and Garden Days where we carry out a range of gardening task such as clearing, weeding, planting and repairing paths. There is always plenty to keep us busy at other times, such as strimming hedges and cutting the lawn in the summer months.