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sustainable housing since 1995
Croeso, Welcome to Chickenshack
a fully mutual limited company

Chickenshack is a fully mutual housing co-operative based in the Dysynni valley in North Wales since August 1995. We have 6 full time members here and between us we manage 5 acres of land and four dwellings, working to an ever evolving permaculture inspired environmentally efficient design.

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Fully mutual (par value) housing co-operative simply means that it is owned and managed by a limited company, of which the tenants are the sole directors. It is only £1.00 to join and qualify for membership according the co-ops seconadary rules, in return for a fair rent and attendance of management meetings as required.

Co-ops are part of a grand tradition of democratic and social institutions that provide a useful and often more sustainable alternative to private ownership.

We are actively work towards an energy efficient and sustainable home; this includes a solar & biomass heating system, an organic veggie garden and orchard and we manage a meadow, a small woodland and willow coppice as well as a natural wetland organically.

We have a growing interest in sustainable business, local food and energy and livlihoods, as well as running courses utilising the facilities here.

We are involved in the Machynllwth transition town project

A bit more about Co-ops
Co-operatives as an idea was invented by a bunch of people known as the Rochdale pioneers about 160 years ago, basically its a different way to own and or manage a business for a wider of mutual benefit, mroe than personal gain. As such co-oops tend to be a more socially responsible and more democratic type of organisation. Housing co-operatives are no different really, there are actually three different kinds at least, but essentially they are all ways of owning and managing a property by the people that live in them.

More recently they are seen as a very useful way to acquire a property if you dont have conventional funding (like a mortgage based on your income), savings or other property to sell. There are lots of advantages such as tenants of co-ops can claim housing benefit, so it is possible to underwrite a mortage with a steady income.

More importantly as the property is essentially owned by itself there is no greedy landlord to feed, so rents are low, at Chickenshack we aim to make to small surplus each year over our basic costs which can be reinvested back into maintaining and improving the buildings and land.

We were established with the help of a Radical Routes loan, a mortgage from Triodos bank and our own Chickenshack loanstock fund.

None of this could have been achieved without the advice and support from Catalyst collective and Radical Routes and its member co-ops. The later of wich CSHC were active members of between '93 - '99, and we still support and promote their objects. We actively network locally with other co-ops in Wales and the borders. See the Blog for updatesmississippi shack

The name is inspired by a love of the Delta blues and by association, with celebration and survival in the face of adversity. Chickenshack is our place to roost, solid ground on which to build foundations, maybe even lay a few eggs.

Officially Chickenshack is a par value, tenant managed housing co-op, and limited mutual company. We currently own one property in Rhoslefain in North Wales which is full time home to 6 people, and part time home for a few more. We are not currently looking for new members but we do have a volunteer program and the intent to register with WWOOF volunteers network.

Chickenshack members are active in all sorts of areas, including co-operative development, supporting vulnerable people, personal development through outdoor pursuits, environmental education and charity management and related services. We also run a webhosting service for community and voluntary groups and occasionally host courses.
We are open to meeting new people with similar interests and encourage you to get in touch if you have a genuine interest in housing co-ops, permaculture and all that malarchy. Use the links below to find answers to questions about renewable energy sytems and housing co-ops and alternative finance and to find our more about this area.


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Latest from Chickenshack

Permaculture at Chickenshack
The housing co-op has been inspired by permaculture design since it beginnings. 7 out of 8 of the orginal residents met on a design course at CAT in 1995. The co-op has worked towards a consistent design plan to try and create an abundant, beautiful landscape, to cmpliment to stunning Snowdonia scerary around it.

See Steve's Blog and Sector39 for latest updates on permaculture courses and networking in Wales

Permaculture design principles - pics from our PDC 2008, David Holmgren's permaculture design principles

More about our central heating project - in 2004/5 we installed a super efficient biomass and solar heating system, with help from a Clear Skies grant.

Recording Studio - 2007, first recordings made at chickenshack - download sample tracks by Trait


house may 05

forest garden may 06

design course 2007

design course 2007



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