Who we are

The Open House Project Team in 2018

Open House Project Team 2018

The Open House Project Team in 2014


xmas2008 040Greg

I design and field test outdoor clothing – a follow on to a career in outdoor education where I enjoyed a multitude of group experiences and made many friends. Both forms of employment have provided a good excuse to spend time exploring mountains and adventuring in the outdoors. My family have supported me throughout so now, as a grandfather, can I bring some of my experience to our group to help build a genuinely open minded community?

2006-01-04deepdale 030Sheila

 I am one of the oldest, probably one of the prime movers, and definitely one of the most excited members of the project. I am mother or grandmother to several of those also involved, but I am very keen to extend the benefits of mutual support to others and look forward to new members joining. I have some experience growing things and am delighted that we have the polytunnel and the orchard already productive. I am particularly thrilled with the quality of the architectural design of the conversion which offers us all a wonderful and unique home.

leo photo 2Leo

I am an architect/university teacher and our cohousing project is a unique opportunity for me to offer and develop my professional skills, whilst creating a more community-focused place for my family to live. I am really interested in the process of creating a cohousing group as well as looking forward to living there, and I am hoping to undertake a PhD based on the project. So far, I have really enjoyed working with family and friends in a relaxed, but professional way, which has revealed otherwise hidden skills and qualities of people I thought I knew! When the build is complete I am really looking forward to communal al fresco meals made from the produce that we have grown on site!

kate photoKate

Leo and I have three children – Emily, Lucy and Alex who keep us on our toes! When not running around after them I work as an optometrist in a large community opticians. My main interest in the cohousing project is in creating a great place for our family to live that my husband, Leo, has designed and to which I have had a major contribution. I love the idea of living in a semi-rural location but with the opportunities of a city on our doorstep – a place for children to grow up in safety with their extended family. The project is challenging and scary at times, not least because of living in a caravan, on site, over winter with three energetic children but I really like the idea of getting on with the build, moving in and achieving something epic!


I am married to Polly and we have three children (Raymond 9, Lydia 7 and Sylvie 4). The other members of the group are family and friends. I envisage a flexible approach from all when it comes to living arrangements (especially during the build process) but ultimately I would like to live in my own unit with immediate family.  My personal interests are all sports (particularly football) and I am very proud of creating our own on site football pitch. I am very interested in social justice and want to be part of a community where people embrace equality, freedom and fairness. I guess I am experienced in risk assessment as I hold a BSc in Disaster Management! I have worked as a council gardener where I excelled in digging large holes! I am learning more about building techniques and extraordinarily complicated legal procedures . Mostly I want my children to grow up with space to enjoy an element of freedom, fun and adventure.


Joe and I have three young children who are benefitting in so many ways from this venture. We lived and worked in London for ten years and moved to Sheffield 3 years ago. We currently live near the site and are getting very excited about the next phase of the build which will renovate our future home. We are loving having a quieter rural lifestyle. Being closer to family and friends has made a massive difference to our lives and starts the co-housing ethos even before we all live there. I am most interested in using the amount of space and resources we’ll have to benefit the co-housing group and the wider community. I am a great organiser and I get most satisfaction from doing a job properly. During the build I have tried my hand at lots of different things and enjoy a break from childcare! Co-housing in this location means my children will benefit from a safer, healthier environment where they will learn so much more from being around different adults/children.


I am a founder member of Open House and a one seventh share holder, with the option for the lease of the listed Cart Shed when it has been renovated. Being the custodian of the wonderful cluster of Barnes Hall Farm buildings is both an honour and a responsibility. For the Phase 1 development I was Project Manager; a literally ground breaking experience in so many ways! This is a vibrant small community initiative that has come a long way since inception; the enthusiasm continues as the development progresses, with the add boost from new members.


I’m married to Matt, and mum to Luca, Grace and Red (the dog).

From our very first visit to the farm I fell in love with every aspect of the project; the rural location, the historic buildings, the environmentally friendly design, and most importantly for me, the idea of a mutually supportive community.

The project is dynamic, constantly bringing new challenges and opportunities. There is always something to think about and do and I think this will be the case even when all of the units and shared spaces have been developed. I relish being able to get involved in all aspects of the project, from catering and childcare, gardening, to pointing brickwork and even cutting to size sheets of insulation that are bigger than me!

As the proverb says “it takes a village to raise a child”, and I’m excited about the unique experiences and opportunities the project will bring to us as a family and the positive impact this will have on my children. For me, the project is about working towards something extraordinary with a great group of people.


Hi I’m Matt, married to Hannah and Dad of Luca and Grace.

I used to work with Joe in London and our eldest boys were born just one day apart at the same hospital, which has certainly cemented an already good friendship.

We’ve known about the project since its inception and visited once Joe and Polly moved up. We immediately fell in love with the whole idea and are now part of OHP and have invested in and earmarked one of the units for our brood.

We visit as regularly as we can and stay for the weekend, generally every 4-6 weeks and get stuck in and help on the site and with the Poly-Tunnel etc.

We will be moving up lock stock and barrel when work on our unit starts. It is such a great opportunity and fairly unique that we will know (and like 😂) our new neighbours and I am looking forward to watching all the children grow up together in such a lovely location.