Initial expression of interest

Send us your answers to our questionnaire, with a letter telling us who you are (including dependants and animals), why you would like to apply to join Earthworm Housing Coop, what your current housing situation is and what your future needs are.  If we've advertised a closing date for applications on the front page of the website, be sure to get your applications to us before the closing date.


If you are a couple, please send two completed questionnaires, rather than one person speaking on behalf of two.


The questionairre is here.


Please give as much information as you like, telling us anything of interest about yourself. You don't have to say much, but you must complete the Prospective Member Questionnaire. This asks you some more detailed questions about you and what you want to do at Earthworm Housing Coop. Even though we might already know you through volunteering or friends, we do need this fixed-format information so that we can fairly decide if we want to consider you joining as a member/director/tenant  (Each person is all three in a fully mutual housing co-op).


How to come and visit us


The incidences of people we don't know turning up have dropped off since we got better at assertively explaining how busy we all are.  A lot of people still ring up out of the blue, but we tend to just direct them to this website.  Do write or e-mail first if you want to visit, and if you want to become a member, write us a letter and fill out the questionaire.  We don't expect to be WWOOF hosts for a few years yet, but do begin a dialogue by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are very keen to come and work with us.


If you prefer to use the telephone, that can be arranged.


Back to the proper application process...


We are a small cooperative and our aims for the houses and land are quite specific. In order to make sure the right people become members of Earthworm Housing Cooperative and to make sure that we are the right people for you to live and work with, our application process is quite formal and follows a set process. Below we explain how the process works, what happens when, and how we finally allocate membership. 


At the moment we are focussing on applications for rooms in the shared house. See front page of this website for the deadlines and time-scales.


Before you apply, please take the time to read all the background information on this website, that you can. You'll find out a lot about Earthworm Housing Coop, living here, our plans and how the coop works so you know what you are letting yourself in for! It's fine to e-mail a few specific questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before you begin speaking with us seriously.


There are two ways that you might first express your interest in joining the co-op. Firstly, you might give us a phone call asking us to post you a hard copy of the content of this website, and the questionnaire. The second possibility is that the first we know of you is when we receive a fully filled-in membership questionnaire, and we assume that you have read these membership documents on our website. Either way is fine.


After a closing date for application  we all look at all the applications, discuss them in a co-op meeting, and decide which people we're interested in meeting. Everyone who we think sounds like a good fit, gets invited for a visit. We will email you or ring you up (your choice) to let you know if we want you to come to that visit.


At the visit we'll spend the weekend working and socialising with everyone, so you'll get a chance to meet and talk to all the current co-op members, see the buildings and the site, and find out more about the co-op and the renovation project. (We do a joint visit to make the process more manageable for our existing members; however we can try to be flexible about this if you feel really intimidated by the idea of a group visit. If this is the case, please get in touch as early as possible so that we can try to accommodate you.)


After that first visit, we'll discuss you (and all the other applicants who visited) in a co-op meeting and decide if we want to progress your application further. If we are interested in taking things further with you then we will get in touch to arrange another visit, within six weeks of the first one. This second visit will be longer and will be just you (if we're inviting more than one applicant back we'll do each visit individually) so we'll have a chance to work together and get to know each other better.


With most applicants we make up our minds after the second visit, but sometimes they or we want a third visit before making a decision.  We'll email or ring you about whether we want more visits, or whether we're accepting or declining your application. If you want more detailed feedback about why we declined, do ask, but this may never be very satisfying or easy, because although we can have consensus on the decision (of whether to continue the membership process or not) we will very rarely have consensus on the reasons for that decision, as we're all individuals with different opinions and sensitivities.


Becoming a co-op member

Successful applicants move in for a 6 month probationary period, usually beginning within a couple of months of the co-op meeting that accepted their application. (If you need more time to settle your affairs elsewhere, we can discuss it and come to an agreement, which might involve a holding fee.)


It's not uncommon for housing cooperatives to have such a long trial period.  In most cases when probationary members don't stay on, it was their decision and not a decision that came from the existing co-op members, but it is usually quite clear which way it's going after three months.


3 months in to the probationary period, the co-op reviews how things are going. In effect this is a good chance for you to ask for other things you might need from the full-members, in order for you to be sure that you want to become a full member of this co-op. Likewise, the full members might make requests of you, or ask you to request more help of us! Hopefully, three months in you're getting to know the people and the place well.


After your first three months, the Prospective Member Probationary Period usually continues but there is a chance it might be stopped with one month's notice given. If this is the case, you will be clearly told why.


At the end of the 6 months, there's a Final Probationary Review including you, followed by a discussion at a co-op meeting excluding you, and then either full membership is agreed, or 1 month's notice is given. In effect, most "final probationary reviews" are very short meetings!