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 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. 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.
We have seven flats one of which is rented; the residents of this flat are involved in daily life at Dol-llys but do not have the same management or financial obligations as the loan-stock holders. The residents of the remaining 6 flats share the administrative and other work that needs to be done to run Dol-llys Housing Ltd effectively.
At present there are 9 adults and 3 under 18s living at Dol-llys; we cover four 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 a polytunnel, a workshop and cellar space. Four households share the care and eggs from a small flock of chickens. Unlike purpose built co-housing developments we do not have a “common house”. Formal 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 the arts, charities, construction, education, finance, health and social care, hospitality, public policy and retail.
We have monthly business meetings to discuss and agree things that affect all of us and work-days where tasks might include clearing the stream, painting the house, maintaining our Victorian sewerage system. These are fun, social and productive days and we take turns to provide lunch and refreshments.
There are also Wood Days where we work together to produce logs for our wood burners.
There is always plenty to keep us busy in house and grounds at other time in addition to these days.
Each member takes on a role such as Treasurer, Secretary, Utilities, Woodland, Grounds, House-keeping, Website to ensure the smooth running of our home and Dol- Llys Housing Ltd.
We usually hold a winter and summer party with live music. These are well attended and enjoyed by friends, family and neighbours.
Other past social events have included games nights, film nights, rounders and cricket on the lawn and winter games in the snow. There are sometimes spontaneous get-togethers especially on warm evenings.