I arrived at Minstead Lodge early in 1977 to join the community that Tim Selwood had established there.

Technically, I was what’s called a Community Leader. There were three of us in different roles. One was a sort of manage the household. One looked at the broad work of the Trust, particularly the overseas and the development work. And I looked after the community, quite a lot of organising for people who came, supporting community members, engaging with the local community and sort of building relationships with that. And that was my role.

What I recall, is that we always treasured the involvement of those with learning disability. Partly because they individually and as it happens, in a continuum sort of stream of involvement. Either through families coming, or certain people finding themselves a bit more here. Sometimes being able to bring your child to a place where you’re accepted, and that person is accepted, opened up a door for others. So, sometimes it was to do with a sense of disability and inclusion. But sometimes it was just to do with the sense of we all have disability, and we all need inclusion. It was true for those with mental health issues, in particular.

In my time at the Lodge I think what was finding its feet, was also a relationship between the natural world if you like, the gardening, flowers, trees a whole of host of things that grow around us, reflected by the forest as well. And that human beings flower best, when they are in good soil, you tend and nurture. And this was true, especially true, for those with learning disability.

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