Norwood’s pioneering plan to transform Ravenswood gathers support  

8 August 2019

Last month, Norwood and Charles Church submitted their joint plan for a £16-million-plus development to the London-based charity’s Ravenswood site to Wokingham Borough Council. You can view the full planning application at www.wokingham.gov.uk/planning/ using the Application Number 191911.

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 Ravenswood’s 111 residents. The development will create homes and outdoor spaces that are modern, fit for purpose and accessible to everyone.

Additionally, a parcel of land on the Ravenswood site has been sold 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 transform what is currently an isolated intentional community for those with learning disabilities into a unique and pioneering, rich and inclusive part of the wider Wokingham community.

At a time of constrained central government funding, adult social care charities are having to look for alternative funding sources. This project is an innovative way that a social care charity can realise the value of land it owns to develop new housing for commercial sale, while also upgrading its existing care facilities.

The submitted plan is more than just another housing development – it’s an exciting way that charities can secure their long-term future while also supporting local communities with quality housing and jobs.

Already a major employer in the Crowthorne and Wokingham area providing nearly 470 jobs, the Ravenswood development plan will provide further economic and environmental benefits to the region. The new houses will create a positive knock-on effect on local shops, services and facilities. The creation of an 18-hectare suitable natural green space (SANG) will support biodiversity and provide a new area of natural beauty open to all. And existing facilities, such as the hydrotherapy pool and stables, will be enhanced, expanded and modernised providing increased capacity for both residents of Ravenswood and the wider community.

Dr Beverley Jacobson, Norwood’s Chief Executive, says: “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.”

If early comments on the Wokingham Borough Council’s website are anything to go by, plenty of people agree with Norwood’s chief executive. Already, many local people and interested parties are writing hugely supportive comments pointing out that the plan would create much-needed affordable housing in the area, while enhancing the landscape and vastly improving existing facilities – such as the hydrotherapy pool and the stables – that are used by the wider community as well as Ravenswood residents.

Subject to planning approval, construction will commence during the 2019/20 financial year, with plans to officially unveil the upgraded site in 2021.

—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.

It helps children and adults to maximise their potential at home, at school and throughout their lives, through personalised services designed to enable choice.

Each year Norwood needs £35m to keep its services running, £12m of which comes through voluntary donations. These services include a total of 55 residential, supported living and family centres across London and the South East.

Norwood currently runs eight charity shops across North and East London thanks to the support of 150 dedicated volunteers.