Trelay’s People Plan
“Before I came here, I thought environmental sustainability was the most important issue. But now I realise that people must come first. Financial sustainability at Trelay is key, otherwise people are full of fear. Then social sustainability – good quality interpersonal relationships with everyone’s needs met. After those are in place, the community becomes naturally more environmentally sustainable: sharing transport, reducing waste, loving natural beauty and wildlife.”
Employees and volunteers
The Trelay Cohousing Community welcomes volunteers who work side-by-side with us and experience the joy of living on a small farm where we practice co-sufficiency.
When there are jobs to be done at Trelay which we expect to pay for, we try to employ Members of the Community, negotiating a rate of pay that is for the good of us all.
Since its inception, Trelay has worked to develop ways for its members to live together in harmony, with conflict resolution procedures, communication meetings and sharing circles. Currently we are working with an advisor on NVC (Non Violent Communication) and holding regular meetings to learn more about harmonious living.
Trelay has developed a pioneering method to allow people with no money to join the community on an equal basis. Of the 22 people here, there are 5 who had considerable life savings or money from the sale of relatively expensive houses; 9 who had moderate amounts of capital; and 8 who had no capital. Our system allows the people with wealth to act, in effect, as mortgage guarantors, enabling the others to make mortgage commitments. Trelay encourages people to set up businesses at Trelay, enabling them to earn money to pay for their mortgage commitment without travelling off-site. This multi-generational method of sharing resources and working together to pay bills brings benefits to all. Affordable homes at Trelay are not only available at low prices, they enable people to develop their own step-up in life, gaining equity from a zero start.
Personal development opportunities
People who live at Trelay have many opportunities to learn new skills and to develop new ways of thinking and experiencing life. Members have learnt many things, from bee-keeping to milking a cow; from managing the accounts of a business to methods of insulating a building; from amazing recipes using our home-grown food to communication and meditation skills. Older parents support younger parents with practical help and ideas. Young people help to care for ill people. We have experienced the death of a loved Member together at Trelay.
Inevitably, some people choose to move on. The Community’s aims are to support the move in a way which brings benefits to the person leaving and those staying, so that friendships are maintained on into the future.
Once a year, Members of the Trelay Community hold a weekend to reinforce and update our vision. Here is our summary from Nov. 2016:
Mindful communication. Community Harmony Project. Buddy / mentor system. Trust; acceptance; individual communication needs.
Sustainable/ low impact way of life – renewable energy and food production. Homes and farmhouse finished/ warm comfortable + leave no trace. Community garden – beautiful place.
Making it happen
Convenor groups system improved . Action super-heroes for projects! Money happiness – clarity.
Our produce from the farm has included pork, beef, lamb, wool, chicken and duck eggs, milk, cream, yoghurt, cheese, honey, fish, many varieties of vegetables, tree fruit and nuts, soft fruit, timber, firewood, other forestry products, flowers, paintings, photographs and a wide variety of crafts – most of these in small quantities.