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SOMA Housing Co-Op

logo of SOMA Housing Co-Operative Ltd and link to their web site
SOMA Housing Co-Op

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Home of Oxford PC Solutions

Oxford PC Solutions is a not for profit organisation which operates on Social Enterprise principles and is intending to register as a Company Limited by Guarantee early in 2016. We work in the community, assisting people who have a disability and people who are disadvantaged, often by helping them to function on a daily basis, or by creating projects which make their lives better. The Directors have many years experience working in the community, in Community Arts and Welfare Rights giving advice, organising activities, managing projects, running training workshops and fund raising for charitable causes. Our skill sets include Documentary and Campaigning Film Production, Art and Music Video making, Sound Recording and Audio Engineering. This breadth of experience is solidly backed with professional training and qualifications like, BSc. in Information Systems (Computing and Business) and an NVQs in Project Management and Working in the Voluntary sector.

Our Projects to date include

PC Solutions

OPCS provide IT support to community groups and individuals who are disabled or disadvantaged. We specialise in Accessible Web Design as described in the W3C Accessibility Guidelines, using HTML5 and CSS3, which besides enabling the web for people who have vision impairment, means that a site built this way is less vulnerable to hacking than script based web sites and it also requires less maintenance overall. OPCS can also manage Web Development and Internet Marketing using Google's SEO techniques.

We can help with some hardware repairs and upgrades to laptops and desktop computers. This includes Wireless and Wired Networks. We also conduct Operating System Recovery (MAC and Microsoft) and Data Recovery in some circumstances, please enquire. We have produced Business Cards for some clients and undertaken office administration and document production tasks for others.

Ethical Products

We have created some products for sale that are made with the aid of recycled materials which have been gleaned from commercial waste. These products include polytunnels, compost bays, raised beds and other types of garden furniture. The products incorporate some new materials like timber, but where this occurs we do everything to ensure that they come from sustainable sources that are regulated by the FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council). Upcycled waste includes wooden pallets, polythene sheet, scaffolding and some timber.

These construction projects have been undertaken in order to help disabled people to have some meaning in their life, to give them some other focus apart from their illness or their circumstance. Taking part in a real business activity and earning a real income can help a disabled person prepare for returning to employment after illness. By accommodating a persons disability, OPCS can create a work or training opportunity for someone who is normally considered incapable of working for their living. This real activity helps the person to see that they can play a useful and contributory role in the community and hopefully feel less like they are at the end of the road, a failure in society. Thereby helping to reverse the current societal trend where they are considered by their neighbours as a welfare sponger.

SOMA Housing Co-Operative and Intentional Community

SOMA is an "not for profit" Housing Co-Operative, Limited by Guarantee, established in October 2013 and on a mission to help disabled and disadvantaged people with their housing and social needs, through establishing an Intentional Community. There are currently 12 members and 6 associate members of SOMA who mainly live in Oxfordshire, with a couple now living elsewhere. SOMA is also looking towards setting up a community in North Dorset where land is much cheaper, the most likely place being close to Sturminster Newton.

SOMA is Asset Locked so that the members own only £1 share in the company but still have full say in the day to day running and strategic management of the organisation. Their benefit is secure, suitable, affordable, rented accommodation in an environmentally sustainable community, for as long as they are a SOMA member. This project will also be creating employment and training opportunities and will have other benefits for the local community. SOMA is currently seeking a loan of £2 million for the construction of up to 20 sustainable dwellings and space for growing food stuffs and some light industry. SOMA also accepts donations from the general public and from local businesses and is looking for sponsors from environmental technology industries.

You can follow the struggles of SOMA from the beginning and on through to the group attaining their final goal, establishing an intended community and people building their own homes. The model SOMA intends to follow will provide a co-housing community with purpose built, eco homes. These will have affordable rents and provide security of tenure for disadvantaged people who want to live independently but share an ethos of mutual support and want to be part of a supportive community.

NEWS December 2015

SOMA is currently looking for people who would like to be a member of SOMA Housing Co-Operative Ltd

If you would like to join, please visit the SOMA web site and then get in touch with the Secretary for an Application Form. You can also apply in writing and can get the address from the web site's Contacts page

The next General Meeting of SOMA members will take place on Thursday 14th January 2016. This is a public meeting and it will take place in the Town Hall, St. Aldates, Oxford beginning at 7:30pm.

You can also find information here about other types of Housing Co-Operative.

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