The Hometown Foundation
The Hometown Foundation is a registered charity which has been formed to promote self-sustaining communities using established co-operative principles of joint ownership.
The Foundation's key aims are to advance citizenship and community development while protecting and improving the environment. The Foundation believes that good citizens will create a successful community and that any community will be more successful if its surroundings are an attractive place to live, work and play.
The Foundation endows and empowers individuals, communities and organisations to create and maintain sustainable communities which are self-reliant. Owenstown is the first of these initiatives. Based on the shared ideals and principles with Robert Owen and the Co-operative Movement the Hometown Foundation intends to turn his vision into reality through the development of Owenstown - a new community owned settlement on a 2,000 acre site South Lanarkshire, just a few miles from where Owen put his social reform ideas into practice in New Lanark.
The town will be self-sufficient and will also boost the surrounding area, including the nearby towns of Lanark and Biggar. Owenstown will be owned and managed by a co-operative of its citizens and will be constructed to high environmental standards. All surplus funds generated will be reinvested in the community instead of being taken out by property developers or landowners.
Owenstown Co-operative Society (Co-op) will lead in the establishment of the new settlement at Owenstown with the following objectives:
- Promote community development;
- Promote the social wellbeing within the community;
- Provide homes where needed; and
- Promote sustainability and environmental responsibility in community development.
In addition, there are a set of core principles have been adopted to guide its delivery.
Having concluded a series of public consultations on the proposals and with the Planning Permission in Principle Application submitted, it is intended to now set up a Steering Group or Advisory Panel to consider the next stages in the development of Owenstown. This Group will continue to work closely with the Owenstown Board under the guidance of its Chairman - Dr Jim Arnold MBE.
The Co-operative model provides an excellent base from which to deliver the Owenstown project. The structure for Owenstown Co-op will be an Industrial & Provident Society based on charitable rules. Membership will be offered to everyone living or working in Owenstown who is over 18 years of age. Representatives or organisations undertaking business in Owenstown can also become a member. Share purchase would cost £1. Every shareholder will have a vote in the election of the Board of management but as the Co-op is a non-profit making they will not receive a dividend.
Owenstown will have:
- 3,200 affordable homes for sale or rent;
- Office and commercial space;
- Cafes, restaurants and shops;
- Land and buildings for industry, storage and distribution including a modular house factory;
- At least one hotel;
- Leisure facilities, a care home, community buildings, public parks and recreational areas;
- State of the art infrastructure; and
- Two new primary schools and one new secondary school.
The co-operative movement is well established and international but Owenstown will be unique. In the Basque Region of Spain the Mondragon Corporation - a federation of worker co-operatives formed in 1956 - now provides jobs for 92,000 people and is entirely owned by the workers themselves. In Britain, Bournville, near Birmingham, is often described as "one of the nicest places to live in Britain."