A mother living alone in her 70s has gained a new lease of social life after moving into a co-living scheme with other older women.

Janet Wood was a council tenant with Barnet Homes in North Finchley for 47 years, but has recently moved to New Ground, an older women’s co-housing (OWCH) scheme in High Barnet.

With most of the neighbours on her old estate having moved on, Janet was becoming increasingly isolated in her own street and signed up to the OWCH scheme as a new way of life.

The High Barnet OWCH estate – the first of its kind – sees around 25 women over 50 living in the same building, with communal activities encouraged including a weekly lunch.

Janet said: “What is so special about this place is that we don’t look after each other we look out for each other.

“We don’t have to live out of each other’s pockets, but if I didn’t leave my flat or my curtains were left undrawn for days someone here would definitely think to check up on me.

“I’ve got the best of both worlds, a lovely new flat with privacy but where there’s social activity like a communal meal once a week.

“I do have a lovely daughter, but I want to be independent and she says she can see the change in me since I’ve become an OWCH member.

“It’s something very special to become a part of since as this is the first Older Women’s co-housing group.”

The Barnet OWCH scheme is currently full but ‘reserve’ members will be recruited in order to prepare them for any vacancies.

New Ground founder Maria Brenton said: “We have had some hundreds of enquiries from women.

“There is a huge demand for this way of living – among women especially.”