What is Cohousing?

The essence of cohousing is a combination of self-contained dwelling units with some shared facilities. Each household has its own front door and can live independently. Alongside this are shared facilities where residents can eat together when they wish, and also a shared sitting room, guest rooms, laundry etc.

The major benefits of cohousing include

  • Affordability
  • Sustainability
  • Community
  • Autonomy

We have different types of residency here at Threshold.Since the original group set up The Threshold Centre, the involvement of Synergy Housing (now Aster) allows several different options for people to become residents.Whatever the level at which new residents come to The Threshold Centre they are subject to a common selection procedure and have to be acceptable to current residents.


The original members of The Threshold Centre have now converted their financial shareholdings into stakeholdings that reflect the value of the unit they now live in. They are free to leave and can sell on their residence privately. They can also keep their residence and let it privately.


Some units are for rent as social housing to those qualifying for residence in North Dorset from Synergy Housing.
Co-ownershipSome units are co-owned by those qualifying for social housing in North Dorset through the Government 'HomeBuy' scheme available through Synergy Housing. They pay rent for the remaining portion.

All residents pay a service charge for the use and upkeep of common amenities.

Renting rooms

Some rooms in the farmhouse are rented over short or longer term arrangements to people having varying commitments as cohousing residents.

Social Housing at the Threshold Centre

We are committed to providing a social mix of people at Threshold. This has been made possible through the financing of some properties by Synergy Housing.

There are two levels of social housing: rented properties and co-owned properties.
Synergy (now Aster)
One of the pioneering features of the Threshold Centre is that it is the first UK cohousing scheme to be created jointly with a housing association partner. Half of the 14 cottages are provided by East Dorset Housing Association, part of Synergy Housing Group, the largest housing association in Dorset.
Synergy Housing Group showed both enthusiasm and also understanding of the innovative benefits of cohousing. Given the many challenges of converting old farm buildings to high-level sustainability within tight cost budgets, a Synergy project manager was fully involved with the owner-occupiers in working with the architect, preferred contractor and othe professionals in creating the designs and budget for the project.