Pilsdon sits within a lengthy tradition of hospitality offered by faith communities of different types and of both monastic and lay community life. People of all faiths and none are welcomed as guests to live and work alongside the community members, staying for as long as they need to. Located in the West Dorset countryside, the community operates as a small farm, caring for cows, sheep, pigs, hens and extensive vegetable and fruit gardens through principles of environmental sustainability. It offers guests the opportunity to recover a positive sense of self through being alongside others and to start to repair what are often very broken lives. The stories told in the book through the voices of those who have experienced this way of life give a vivid and compelling account of the benefits of ‘living in common’. Moreover, the book locates this account within a broader analysis of the changing social, cultural and policy context as it relates to people with problems of mental illness, addiction and homelessness.
Living Life in Common: Stories from the Pilsdon Community is about communal living, as practised by a community through a period of substantial cultural and social change. The book presents in their own words the first-hand experiences of people who have known and lived in the Pilsdon Community throughout its 62 year history. It reflects on the enduring values of a way of life that has survived both internal challenges and the shock of a global pandemic to offer hope and inspiration for how we can live well together.