More Diggers and maybe a few less dreamers, Dragons co-operative is open

Hey we are looking for a new member and have been on and off for the last year or so. We had the pleasure of Jeremy’s company for 11 months but in that time since he moved in he has found himself a job, a life and a home of his own four doors’ up. Dragons is sometimes more of a stepping stone than the destination and of course that is absolutely fine but really we hope to find a long term third member to our small but dynamic co-operative.

Dragons is so much more that just a place to stay, a housing co-operative and a home to permaculture, it is the way into a huge network of people, places and projects working towards a much brighter and sustainable future. At Dragons we are trying to create our own meaningful work through self employment and enterprise, we volunteer and contribute to many local projects such as community growing, gardening education, habitat restoration and much more.

We are right on the High Street in Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant, in Powys Wales and the nearest town is Oswestry, which is just over the Shropshire border in England. it is a busy little Welsh village which happens to be on the way to a stunning natural feature, Wales’ highest waterfall, Pistyll Rhaeadr.

Tree planting at Penygarnedd, 4 miles up the valley from Dragons

Dragons is based at Haulfre, a 400 year old hotch-potch of what looks like three houses joined together and chopped and changed over the years. Our latest project is to raise our energy performance from a lowly ‘F’ to a ‘C’ which is our target. As an ethical land lord we should of course be aspiring to get it as high as we can, but with solid stone walls, drafty old sash windows and a grade 2 listing we are rather hand tied as to what we can do. We are working with a local credit union to raise some finance and the works are planned which we hope will go ahead soon. Part of the extra incentive to get this done right now is the government is supporting homes with out of date heating systems (like ours) to have an brand new one free, so long as the energy performance of the home is high enough. Last year we were able to have solid wall insulation added to 5 of the rooms, which has really helped as well as adding a load of insulation and a lovely new ceiling to the old office room, so this will be our next big step.

the dragons allotment
The Dragons allotment at the start of last season

Dragons has a long association with permaculture teaching and project developments, having been a host to at least 4 PDC’s and connected to several other permaculture projects, not least to Treflach farm. This is basically a stock farm, of 120 years pedigree that about 12 years decided to commit to the path of permaculture and regenerative agriculture and over that time have become a close friend and ally of Dragons and its members. Being close to the local food economy is really important to us at Dragons, and our friendship with Treflach is just an example really of the many links we have to such projects in the area.

Dragons shop

Dragons includes a shop unit, which is rented out to a local craft collective, who use it as a base to sell their crafts and other hand made items, and it is also a social centre for visitors to the village as well as the community of crafters to make the items for sale and staff the shop on a voluntary rota. We are really proud to be playing an active part in the village economy and promoting local enterprise. Before Dragons co-op purchased this building in 2015 the shop had stood empty for 10 years or more and the only thing in the widow was cobwebs.

Joining Dragons

We are a fully Mutual Housing co-operative operating on Radical Routes model rules. We have developed and written our own secondary rules and also all tenants are issues with an occupancy agreement.

Normally Dragons comprises of three resident members, a dog, two cats and of course the ship unit. Members get their own room, a sitting room and a share of the rest of the house, which is kitchen, bathroom sitting room, there is a small yard and ty bach out the back as well.

Rent is £400 pcm and this includes most of your bills, with electricity prices rising we will have to chip in extra for energy costs over a certain ceiling.

We have good internet, phone and also the co-op bulk buys essential items such as detergents and basic essentials from a whole food co-op to keep things simple.

Applicants can be a prospective member for up to 12 – months, like being a normal tenant, they are welcome to apply after 6 months to become a full member with a permanent right to stay and full voting rights etc. Dragons co-op is not reuired to give a final answer until the full 1 months is up.

Dragons has a 25-year commercial mortgage with Triodos bank which commenced in 2015 and also is supported by private investors to whom we pay interest annually. All of these costs are covered by the rent, as are insurance and other standing charges.

Dragons has a long standing friendship with Treflach farm, this year we contributed a joint presentation to the Oxford Real Farmers Conference
The beautiful Tanat valley

Summary:

Own room and sitting room share of rest of house £400 pcm

Rent is payable in advance, we do not require a deposit

Three months notice is normally required when leaving

The room is unfurnished but the co-op can supply certain items of furniture

There is a ‘Revive’ community furniture recycling enterprise in Oswestry

Nearest station in Gobowen (Oswestry)

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