Val Eugenia, 52, lives in Ealing, West London. She has lived on her own since her last relationship ended nearly a decade ago. Val is a member of London Older Lesbian Cohousing which is hoping to build 25 homes in North East London.
I had become quite isolated. All the people I knew had either moved on or had passed away. Lots of the council flats had been sold off but the people that bought them didn’t live there so they were rented out. It felt that the people who moved in maybe didn’t care as much.
I used to not want to go home.
And then I was burgled. I was in my flat when it happened, although I didn’t know at the time. I didn’t have anybody. I phoned my daughter as she’s in Stevenage but it wasn’t as if I could knock on someone’s door and say ‘oh my god, this has just happened to me’.
I love my home now.
There is so much I can say about this community, we share so much of our lives together. I feel as though my life has been completely transformed. I could never imagine living the life I’m living now.
After years of misery I’ve got another life, my whole mindset has changed. I’ve joined lots of clubs with some others that live here and I now do calligraphy, Balkan dancing, walking. It’s wonderful and keeps my brain ticking over. Before here I was in a bit of a rut. I used to think if I had one thing to do in a day that would be as much as I’d be able to cope with, but now I’ve got so much going on!
Without a doubt this community is keeping me healthier, happier and more supported.
Amanda, 50, moved into Fishponds Road, a community land trust development in Bristol in May 2016. To get a discount off her monthly rent Amanda worked with her neighbours to ‘self-finish’ her one-bed home. Amanda has a partner but they choose to live separately.
Jane, 61, moved into her flat within On the Brink Cohousing in May 2018. She has been single since she was 40 and brought up her son on her own in a terraced house in Sheffield.