Laurieston Hall began as a commune in 1972. In 1987 it transformed itself into a Housing Co-operative, currently home to 19 members, 4 children aged 5-10, and a few long-stay visitors. We live in and around a huge Victorian main house, with a large organic walled garden, surrounded by 180 acres of beautiful woods, pastures and wetlands, stretching from a loch to the north, to the best wee sledging hill in Galloway to the south. Living spaces use wood for heating and cooking. A hydro supplies much of our electricity. We grow as much fruit and vegetables as we can, keep cows, pigs, hens and bees, and do most of our own maintenance. All of us pay a large portion of our rent in unwaged labour for the co-op. This means ideally spending about two and a half days a week doing what we call “workshare”.
Issues that affect everybody come to a weekly co-op meeting in which decisions are made by consensus. Work areas are organised within smaller groups. Co-operation is our common ideology; under that umbrella we lean this way and that, are generally better at dealing with tomorrow than next year, are supportive of each other as individuals as well as co-op members – and we try to have a good time!