Norwood announces pioneering and visionary plan to transform Ravenswood

16 July 2019

On Friday 12 July 2019, Norwood submitted plans to Wokingham Borough Council for a £16-million-plus development to its Ravenswood site that will create homes and outdoor spaces that are modern, fit for purpose and accessible to everyone.

The project will see a major upgrade to Ravenswood’s residential accommodation and facilities and will ensure that Norwood can continue to deliver outstanding support to both its current 111 residents and future residents.

Additionally, a parcel of land on the Ravenswood site will be released to national housing developer Charles Church. This site will provide 183 new homes (40 per cent of which will be “affordable housing”), as part of Norwood’s plan to create a unique and pioneering community that will transform what is currently an isolated intentional community for those with learning disabilities into a rich and inclusive part of the wider Wokingham community.

Dr Beverley Jacobson, Norwood’s Chief Executive, says: “The plans have been carefully thought through to balance the needs of residents with the desire to align with the national agenda of community inclusion for those with learning disabilities.

“Ravenswood blazed a trail when it was opened in 1953, and these pioneering plans will enable Ravenswood and Norwood to take their place at the front and centre of the national conversation about the inclusivity and integration of people with learning disabilities. The development is also part of Norwood’s wider plan to keep pushing boundaries and explore the art of the possible for people with complex needs.

“The plan includes many exciting elements, from the upgrading of existing facilities – such as the hydrotherapy pool and stables – to the building of new flexible spaces for meetings, workshops and conferences. All of this will extend our services to many more people in the local community, some of whom may choose to live in the new Charles Church homes, which will also, we hope, provide a fresh source of paid staff and volunteers for Ravenswood. There will also be an enhanced and improved synagogue space for residents to use for Jewish reflection and prayer.”

Roger Filer, Chair of Ravenswood Families Association, a body which represents the people living at Ravenswood, said he and the families he represents are delighted with the agreement. “This represents a very positive development for Ravenswood and the people currently living there. It will vastly improve the living accommodation and external environment for many of Ravenswood’s residents.”

Robert Clark, Head of Planning at Charles Church Thames Valley, says: “We are pleased to be partnering with Norwood on the delivery of this exciting project.”

Subject to planning approval, construction will commence in 2020, with plans to officially unveil the upgraded site in 2022.

—ENDS—

Further information

For further information please contact Norwood press team:

By email:        pressoffice@norwood.org.uk

By phone:      020 8420 6866 or 07736 458532

About Ravenswood

Ravenswood was set up in 1953 by four families aiming to provide education and care for their children and others with a learning disability. Today, Ravenswood is home to more than 100 people with learning disabilities living in 12 registered care homes set in more than 120 acres of Berkshire countryside.

About Norwood

Norwood is the largest Jewish charity in the UK supporting vulnerable children and their families, children with special educational needs, and people with learning disabilities and autism.

Founded in 1795, Norwood is one of the UK’s oldest charities and the only Jewish charity to enjoy the Patronage of Her Majesty The Queen.

Norwood’s services safeguard the stability and wellbeing of our community’s children and families by providing support through challenging times. For those with learning challenges, we extend this support throughout life, and provide access to education and opportunities which empower the individual to develop, grow and lead an independent life. Norwood is committed to challenging the status quo, to creating new ways of thinking about disability, to championing children and to campaigning for inclusion.