David Cameron praised Norwood’s Ravenswood Village as “a fabulous demonstration of social responsibility in action” as he officially opened a new residential building at the Berkshire facility, which is providing specialist support for adults with severe autism.
Eighty guests watched the Tory leader unveil a plaque at the £2.4 million Tager Centre. They included major donors Romie Tager and his sister Helen Tager-Flusberg, who spoke about their family ties to Ravenswood, which was co-founded by their late parents.
Their sister Sharon, who has learning disabilities, lives at Ravenswood and their late brother Henry was also a resident. A significant sum was also contributed in the name of the late Sydney Silver, who was related to a Ravenswood resident.
Mr Cameron — whose late son Ivan had cerebral palsy and epilepsy — was given a tour of the centre and chatted with residents. When a resident asked him if he’d like to share a picnic, he replied: “I’d love to but I’ve got to deliver a speech first.”
He said Ravenswood was “the best example of how the voluntary sector can support people with difficulties. One of the biggest concerns parents have about a disabled child is what do you do about care outside of the home? Ravenswood gives people the opportunity to do everything they want to do in a caring and loving environment. The way it treats its residents is innovative.”
The centre will accommodate 16 adults, 12 of whom have moved in since the building’s completion in January, and will be staffed by 40 people.
Norwood chairman Bernie Myers said it represented “a further development of Norwood’s specialised services for people with learning disabilities.”