50,000 back petition to ‘save Ravenswood’ campaign urges Norwood to keep the special needs village in Berkshire open


A petition to “keep Ravenswood Village open” has now attracted more than 50,000 signatures.

The petition is to the board of trustees at Norwood, which administers the Berkshire residential facility that is currently home to 96 people with complex special needs and autism.

In April, Norwood announced a consultation on the future of the village, established in 1953, saying it “now unfortunately represents a dated model of care, which is no longer supported by national policy and is no longer being commissioned by local authorities”. All options would be considered, including closure.

Families of residents have since spoken emotively about their fears for the future of their loved ones.

The petition describes Ravenswood as spacious, peaceful and safe, “set in a beautiful green environment” with on-site amenities including stables, sensory gardens and a hydrotherapy pool.

It also explains that the 12 homes within the village each cater to people of different needs. “The Tager Centre, for example, rated as outstanding by the CQC [Care Quality Commission] is designed specifically for people with autism. These specialisms mean that residents’ individual needs are met whilst also creating a diverse, vibrant community that lives together as one village.”

Many residents have been at Ravenswood for the majority of their lives and “a decision to remove them from their home and their community would have a catastrophic impact on their physical and mental wellbeing”, the petition claims.

Those supporting it are also encouraged to visit the Friends of Ravenswood website, which features a number of residents’ stories.

One of those giving a reason for signing wrote that her aunt had been a resident for 40 years. “To remove her would be a profound mistake as Ravenswood is her security blanket and all she knows.”

Norwood is expected to announce its decision in the autumn.

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