Community within Community

The first four houses of the East Whins cluster have finally opened their doors!

eastwhinshandover2Against a backdrop of clear blue skies, bright sunshine and pristine white snow, members of the community gathered to celebrate the handing over of keys to the initial tenants and homeowners. The land and buildings were blessed in traditional Findhorn style with a moment of silence, a prayer and blessings and then David Hammond of Dunelands Ltd led the key handover and tape cutting by one of the new residents. The delighted recipients of keys were kind enough to welcome curious viewers to their beautiful light-filled flats.

These homes are the first to be completed out of the 25 dwellings that make up the East Whins Co-housing cluster situated on what was originally known as the Magic Triangle. The project itself has had a long journey starting with the purchasing of the land 15 years ago by the Dunelands Board. Members of the board spoke of how they managed to fundraise for the purchase of the land within a very tight deadline. Bill Henderson, the initial managing director of the project, expressed his gratitude to his successors and appreciated the way the buildings reflected the community. Jonathan Caddy described his years of involvement as a rollercoaster and he thanked the shareholders and voluntary board of Dunelands Ltd for holding the vision throughout this time.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it, just begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Goethe

Inspired by other co-housing examples within the community such as Station House in Findhorn village and the Centinis in the Park, Dunelands wanted to take their approach to communal living a step further. One of the unique features are the communal spaces developed to serve the East Whins community, and to also offer space for them to share with the wider community. These spaces include a kitchen, eating/lounging area, bike shed, workshop and laundry.

eastwhinshandover3Registered charity The Park Ecovillage Trust held a vision for affordable and accessible housing for all. They created the Park Housing Co-Operative to allow community fundraising, which manifested two units as shared ownership and two rentals designated as community care flats providing a new role for PET as landlords. PET hopes that such housing opportunities can continue within the future development of West Whins. Particularly inspiring is the amount of support and effort that has been put into this project by the entire community.

This huge step forward in developing ecological, affordable, communal housing really helps cement Findhorn on the map of environmentally conscious development and follows in its tradition of pioneering inspired ecological buildings.

This project has highlighted perseverance and faith over a long and bumpy ride ultimately ending in satisfied and settled community members. In the next four weeks the rest of the homes will be completed and another ceremony will be held. Blessings to all the residents starting life in their new homes – an extension of our growing community.

Sasha Angus

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