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About us | Stanley Grange | a small community for adults with learning disabilities and complex needs

About us

Stanley Grange was founded in the 1970s by family members who set up Cottage and Rural Enterprises (CARE) in order to provide lifelong care and support for adults with learning disabilities. The community was intended as a ‘home for life’, created as a small village and modelled on the concept of family groupings in individual houses. Activities and services were offered on the site and the people who lived there benefitted from the freedom to move between activities that included horticulture, joinery, and ceramics. Family involvement has continued to be crucial, and the community continues to this day because of the thriving family forum which meets regularly throughout the year.

Everyone comes to Stanley Grange looking for a safe and happy home, and some residents have now lived at Stanley Grange for over 35 years. Many have shown significant improvements in their wellbeing and behaviour, despite having very complex needs, as they find the friendly community environment & rural setting therapeutic.  There are some residents who moved away from Stanley Grange to try living in dispersed housing in urban communities, but who have since moved back to Stanley Grange as they felt isolated and lonely, missing their friends & the liberated safety of the estate.

The residents at Stanley Grange live as independently as their needs allow, with control over their daytime routines, and freedom to come and go as they please. They all live active lives, and the location and nature of the site means that they can enjoy socializing and outdoor activity with minimal risk.  

Over the past decade or so, the national social care policy emphasis on ‘Care in the Community’ has meant that Stanley Grange has faced an ideological battle for survival, which was heightened with the post-Winterbourne drive to shut down all institutions for adults with learning disabilities.  Stanley Grange isn’t an institution, it is a homely intentional community, but it got caught-up in the drive to close all places where adults with learning disabilities live together.

The previous charity that owned and ran Stanley Grange bowed to this dogma & announced that they were going to close it, relocating the residents away from their familiar homes & friends.  Meanwhile, because of their hostility to the continuation of the community, the buildings & grounds were neglected, and became dilapidated, which then affected the morale of staff and residents.

However, the owners had already researched the views of the residents & their families, and the families discovered that this showed that the vast majority (96%) were actually very happy living at Stanley Grange and wanted to continue living there!

The families were emboldened by this fact, and through their long-established support group and on the request of their relatives, mounted a campaign to save Stanley Grange. They knew that Stanley Grange was a fulfilling, happy and appropriate home for their relatives. They recruited widespread support in the area including the local Parish, District and County councils, and the local and other MPs.  They engaged in a dialogue with the owning charity, eventually persuading them to sell the estate and community as a 'going concern'. They organised themselves to form a new charity, Stanley Grange Community Association (SGCA), with the aim of securing the future of this special place, and buying it, for current residents as well as future generations.  Building on this support, a loan was found which allowed them to mount a credible bid to purchase the site:  the parents of a young adult who attends day services at Stanley Grange were so sure of the site’s value to the residents and people using the facilities, that they very generously loaned SGCA the full asking price. This enabled us to buy the site and the business and we became the proud owners of Stanley Grange on October 1st 2015!

Stanley Grange has always been part of the wider community: Neighbours have accepted, adopted  and  feel pride in what they call 'their' Stanley Grange, have enjoyed meeting and talking with residents on the local lanes, and over the years attended seasonal parties, fairs, and entertainments as welcome guests.  Similarly, the Stanley Grange residents have always been welcomed at local events such as the Parish church fete and the annual village barn dance, and we hope that such friendly links will continue to prosper now the future of Stanley Grange is secured.

5 decades ago

Thanks to everyone who attended the family forum today! Lots of thinking and talking about our community! Looking f…
2 years ago