Dear old Ashfield House, in the Worcestershire countryside, has been a caring Camphill family home for many years – and a stepping stone to helping many people move on to greater independence.
Now, this is Ashfield’s second Christmas as a highly supportive home to a number of young adults with autism.
A real home
The setting couldn’t be more ideal for people who are very challenged by anxieties and their need for routine. Ashfield House is a few miles from Stourbridge (where our community, Berith and Camphill Partnership, is based). It nestles in a peaceful and secluded spot, surrounded by trees and gently rolling countryside.
But it’s not isolated. Ashfield Gardens, the community’s five acre organic plot, is right on the doorstep. Here, there are vegetables to tend, animals to care for, baking and pottery to turn hands to, and friends of all ages to meet.
‘There’s the best of both worlds’, says Huw, our chief executive. ‘A real sense of space – but also an environment of connection and togetherness. A genuine home, where people can travel and develop at their own pace.’
Ashfield House is a response to local need, he adds: ‘We looked at how best we could help, which led to the decision to develop this specific support model and environment . Once we had done that, the benefits of our Camphill approach around valuing relationships and the focus on the individual needs of each person worked its magic.
‘People with complex needs have every right to be supported in such a way, in a genuine home setting within the local community and not in a mini-institution. It’s not enough to be looking after people – we want to them to really be part of our communities.’