A campaign has been launched to save Ravenswood Village, a unique rural residential community, based in Berkshire for people with severe learning disabilities, complex needs and autism.

In April 2021, Norwood, the charity which runs Ravenswood Village, announced a consultation period to discuss the future of Ravenswood, with the possibility of closure.

Established in 1953, Norwood says that Ravenswood now represents a dated model of care and is no longer commissioned by local authorities. With increasing operating losses and running costs of over £13 million a year, investment is needed at the care home to improve infrastructure and manage unused areas.

Norwood had planned to redevelop the area, but in May last year it was refused planning permission to do so.

Rehousing would have a catastrophic impact on physical and mental wellbeing

Campaigners say that a decision to remove the 96 residents who have been there for the majority of their lives would have a catastrophic impact on their physical and mental wellbeing.

The village provides 24-hour-a-day registered residential accommodation and offers tailored support to enable people to lead independent and fulfilling lives. All accommodation services are regulated by the Care Quality Commission and follow a Jewish way of life.

There are specialist complimentary services onsite, including a hydrotherapy pool, Riding for the Disabled Association registered stables with horses, sensory gardens, rebound therapy and a café at the heart of the village.

Ravenswood Life Long Learning programme also aims to support and enable adults with learning disabilities to develop skills for independence. Activities include courses in IT, literacy, numeracy, cooking, keeping well and safe and creative arts. These are delivered on site and by using and supporting local community facilities.

Dr Beverley Jacobson, chief executive officer at Norwood, said: “Recent decades have seen extensive changes in the way in which people with learning disabilities and/or autism are supported to live a fulfilling life.

“This full and meaningful consultation will ensure that issues of fundamental importance to our residents and their families, and our staff, as well as to others closely involved with Ravenswood, will form part of Norwood’s thinking as we consider the future of the Village.”

The Norwood Board of Trustees will be making their decision on the future of Ravenswood, in the autumn of 2021. 

A website had been set up to share stories about the residents at www.friendsofravenswood.com