Freedom News

Gather Communards: an update on A Commune in the North

Back in May, 2022, I described how LeedsCath’s dream for A Commune in the North (ACitN) was slowly being brought to fruition by a band of dedicated communards. Part of that process has involved people beginning to live together in one place to make the process of founding a commune easier and more efficient. zDoncaster, South Yorkshire, has always been on the shortlist of potential areas to site the commune, and with the former mining town of Bentley — which lies just to the north of the newly established City Doncaster — being home to the anarchist aligned Bentley Urban Farm (BUF), I persuaded other commune members that it might be the perfect area for potential communards to relocate to in order to facilitate the founding of the commune… so they did.

Moving is always hard. Harder still for people who are deeply embedded in the communities they are moving from. The turbulence in the UK rental market — combined with the more non-conventional lives that many of our core members have led — meant that it took several months to find a suitable place to rent in Bentley. It has also taken a long time to tie up loose ends from previous lives and build new routines that place commune building at the heart of our everyday existence. This has led to some regrettable months of radio silence, where we have been spread too thinly to adequately keep interested parties informed about ACitN’s progress. For this we humbly apologise, but the good news is that we are now in a position not only to keep people informed about what is happening, but to roll out the education and membership processes so that we can hit the ground running in 2023.

We are excited to announce that in the coming months there may be two new properties available for people who are able to join the commune sooner rather than later. This will allow more members to move to Bentley and take further steps towards the founding of the commune.

Now that we have the first shared commune house just a 20 minute walk from Bentley Urban Farm we can house visiting individuals and groups who want to get involved with what we do, and we are also well positioned to host meetings and workshops for groups and projects who share our values. To these ends we have created a programme of meetings, workshops and work groups which allow prospective commune members to stay over from Sunday to Wednesday to get a feel for what we are trying to achieve with ACitN.

The commune interaction days start midday on Sundays at the weekly ‘Slowdown Sunday’ event at BUF, where people come together to simply relax, chat, share food and play games, we then head to the commune house for dinner at 6pm ahead of our Sunday evening education session at 7pm. These education sessions can also be accessed live online and are a core part of the joining process. This is followed on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday by ACitN/BUF workdays at Bentley Urban Farm, where we collectively work for both the commune and the farm so that we can get used to working together, and also research and develop ideas for potential commune businesses.

Following the Tuesday workday, we have dinner at 6pm at the commune house ahead of our weekly commune planning meeting at 7pm. Meetings can be joined online by people who are already members, or who have begun the commune joining process. The last meeting of every month is completely open and can be attended in-person or online by anyone who is interested in the commune.

Socialising and community building is at the heart of both ACitN and BUF. As we develop each project we continue to bear in mind that we are building visible and accessible alternatives to the status quo. People often remark on how BUF is an oasis of calm in an ocean of stress and anxiety, and tell us that they wished they could live like it too. Our message is that you can.

On the weekend of the 1st and 2nd of April we’re hosting a Commune Business Ideas Weekend, where people who have already contacted the commune and new interested parties can join us to discuss possible commune businesses. We have a few ideas we’re already testing, but are completely open to new ideas which coincide with our core ethos. If you’re interested please contact us via the links below.

Likewise, we’d like to invite any interested parties or related groups to come and visit at any time. We’re also planning to visit a range of projects we feel we can learn from throughout the coming year. If this is you, or you feel your project has something to offer, then please get in touch: (where you can sign up for updates)

07422 966 115

Warren Draper

Discover more from Freedom News

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading