Redfield is an Intentional Community situated in North Buckinghamshire, England. The house is a large old mansion with 17 acres of gardens, woodland and pasture surrounded by farmland.
Our legal structure is that of a Fully Mutual Housing Co-operative, where members are effectively both Landlord and Tenant. The legal structure merely forms the bare bones of a culture of collective living that has developed since 1978.We live as a single household which means that we spend a lot of time together. The rewards that flow from this way of life are many, varied and sometimes unexpected. Sharing your life in this way, with a group of like-minded people, makes for an active and involved life where something is always happening. At the same time the personal challenge that this creates should not be under-estimated. It constantly challenges us to take full responsibility for ourselves. Decision-making is by consensus of all members of the community at the weekly meeting. As well as community business there is space for feelings to be expressed in a supportive atmosphere. Communal life tends to highlight individual foibles and test self-esteem. As well as bringing us closer together, open communication and shared feelings are necessary to limit the scope for misunderstanding.Day to day life, whether necessary domestic tasks or large joint projects, is managed through the various systems that have grown up over the years but this is only a basis and lots of creative effort and joining in is always needed. As well as gardening, building maintenance and animal management there is logging for the wood-burning stoves and catering for events large and small. Some members also have jobs outside the community and these tend to be part-time to allow for full participation in community life. In recent years they have been as varied as working with children and older people, carpentry, computing, publishing, building, teaching, accounting, and planning. We all live in the main house and pay a rent based in part on the space we occupy. The size of this is determined by need and availability. No space is occupied permanently as moves within the house are occasionally necessary due to changing circumstances.
A central feature of our life at Redfield is that we eat together. At weekends there are often 20+ people in the dining room as our numbers are swelled by visitors; these might include official visitors, potential members, personal and community guests. Everyone takes part in the cooking rota and all types of diets are catered for. We keep sheep, chickens, bees and pigs which are owned by the community and are looked after by various members as part of their community jobs. Much of the house is communal space. The social hub of the community is based around the large kitchen, and the adjoining breakfast room, where there's almost always something going on. There are some very large rooms used for different activities like the regular sessions of singing, yoga and tai chi, as well as the extremely regular birthday parties. These rooms are also used for the variety of events happening throughout the year.
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