Chair’s report, 2022

In February 2022 our friend and treasurer, Lee Walford, died following a bike accident. Many of us feel a great loss, principally of a friend, but also on the Suvana board of a trusted colleague who we have not yet been able to replace.

In the last twelve months we have also lost some of our other board and exec members, as well as welcoming new people. Kamalamati resigned as membership secretary, and Dayanita has also resigned from the exec. Many thanks to them for the energy and friendliness that they have contributed to Suvana, and they both continue as cocreators. We were very glad when Ray Brown joined us on the exec with his experience of housing and developments, and Mahasraddha has more recently agreed to join the Board. He is the Chair of the Abhayaratna Trust and well connected in with the wider Order. He has already been to several exec meetings. The exec has continued to meet monthly and has also had some input from Jenna Brame, our local Rural and Community-Led Housing Development Officer.

Following advice from HMRC we decided to make the company as it is currently configured into a dormant company. If we were to continue as an unincorporated association (like a sports club), with a new set of simplified rules, we could receive membership fees without paying tax on them, and decide at a future time what the most suitable structure would be for going forward.

Image of homes integrated with nature, courtesy North East Cambridge Core Site

The search has continued for a site on which to build our cohousing project, and we are hoping that when the core site at the larger Cambridge North East development is starting to be built, we might be able to bid for a block of flats there. However, a block of flats is a different vision to our original hope for a mixture of houses and flats with some outside space as well as a common house. The land prices in Cambridge are some of the most expensive in the country, and so the question arises whether this is the best location to build housing for Triratna retirees.

To summarise, the questions to address at the AGM in November are:-

  • Are any of the cocreators willing to fill the roles of membership secretary and/or treasurer? (If no one does come forward, we will put the project into abeyance)
  • Shall we continue as an unincorporated association?
  • Is the prospect of a development of flats, with very limited outside space, too much of a deviation from our original vision?

We have done a lot of preliminary work for a cohousing scheme, and it is hoped that this and our knowledge gained would be transferable to another location and context if we end the possibility of Suvana in Cambridge.

However, the Board are optimistic that we can and will build a wonderful cohousing development in Cambridge, so if this is what your dream is too, please join us for the AGM and help determine how we take Suvana forward.

Tejasvini (chair)
October 2022