Thursday, January 31, 2008


The care of people with learning difficulties used to leave a lot to be desired, and many ended up in large institutions where their abilities were not recognised or given a chance to flourish. Others were kept at home with elderly parents, stagnating as the parents became too old to provide the stimulation they needed. But some people had the vision to see there was a better option that promised a good life for them without being in anyway patronising.

The innovative charity Cottage And Rural Enterprises Ltd [CARE] was set up over 40 years ago by Peter Forbes to provide “a semblance of normal life without its hazards” in beautiful rural village communities. He believed the residents could fulfil their potential “within a compact secure background that would remain unchanged through their lifetimes.”

Peter Forbes was ahead of his time when he began the charity on a farm in Devon with rural crafts, gardening, catering and growing things organically. It’s always been part and parcel of CARE’s ethos. The charity grew with parents, relatives and donors impressed by the concept, and eventually consisted of eight rural villages.

The first of these villages at Blackerton is only 15-20 minutes by car from South Molton or Tiverton, which enables the villagers to participate in local events such as the South Molton Carnival. They can also attend East Devon College in Tiverton for various courses in living skills such as cookery, and IT.
On the site itself they could participate in music, cookery, pottery, woodwork, textiles and gardening. An away team of gardeners worked for local people, and a lively rock group the Honeytones was good enough to get a lottery grant.
The Commission for Social Care Inspection [CSCI] rated the lifestyle at Blackerton as EXCELLENT.

The resident villagers, some of whom have lived at Blackerton for over 30 years were happy and contented, and the “hands on” carers were a skilled highly dedicated group.
My own son Jacob could hardly wait to get back to his mates after his visits to his old parents.

What has gone wrong with this rural idyll that has operated so successfully for over 40 years?

Why do the trustees intend to close Blackerton and another village at Shangton, in Leicestershire?

Why will they will probably eventually close all the villages, and cause Peter Forbes to spin in his grave at their actions.

[To be continued]


Anonymous Leonie said...

Hi there
My sister lives in another CARE village (or accommodation option' as they now call it.....)
Many agree with your take on things...I would like to access the quotes you give from Petr Forbes..please tell me more..
Most peole are being bamboozled into these changes, which are not for the good. The charity seems to be second-guessing government policy, without standing up for their own values. CARE's philosophy is inextricably linked to its village format...

1:58 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Leonie, my email is if you want to discuss this matter.
I am afraid Blackerton village is closing and there will not be any "residential care" even for those with dementia. It will all be "supported living" even if that support has to be 24 hours a day.
CARE has gone and Self Unlimited is a new entity with a different philosophy.

3:28 PM  

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