Project update | Pond House, a year on

It is always a real pleasure to follow the progress of projects that we have supported financially and witness the positive impact that these projects have on the lives of people living within Camphill Communities.

In 2019, The Camphill Foundation UK & Ireland provided a grant of £20,000 to The Mount Camphill Community, East Sussex, to support their co-housing initiative.

It was recognised that there was a need for Mount co-housers to have the opportunity to leave the protective environment of The Mount’s campus and live a fuller, more integrated life outside of the community. This need was met by expanding and diversifying what the Mount offers. In 2017, Pond House was purchased with a clear plan for it to become their next co-housing provision. This project is part of The Mount’s pioneering new model of provision for and with young people with learning disabilities offering supported, independent and community living.

Pond House required extending, improving and refurbishment to provide a home for a maximum of six co-housing residents, along with full time experienced co-workers who live on site, so in 2017, The Mount embarked on their fundraising campaign to raise their target of £613,000 to make this possible.

The fundraising efforts were remarkable – students, co-housers, families and friends raised over £78,000 towards the campaign, supported by several high-net-worth individuals and grants which were awarded by over 15 trusts and foundations. The National Lottery Community Fund pledged £100,000 and with that, their target was met.

The refurbishment and extension work commenced and by October 2022, the development work was complete. Pond House opened its doors and welcomed six residents and co-workers into their new home.

The opening of Pond House has been a real success and objectives have been met. It has expanded the Mount’s co-housing provision by 60% and has supported the achievement of their four main outcomes for co-housing – personal, social and emotional development; personal empowerment; wellbeing, resilience, and preparation for later life; and enriched quality of life.

Four of the Co-housers living in Pond House were asked these questions:

Q1) What do you like about living in Pond House?

Q2) What is the very best thing?

Q3) What activities do you enjoy?

Their responses:

1) Living with friends, and it is nicer to be nearer Wadhurst.

2) It allows me to be more independent.

3) Things like the art and pottery are fun. I also like the things we do at the weekends such as visiting exhibitions etc.

1) I like having my own room and seeing my best friend every day.

2) Everything.

3) Watching movies with my best friend. Karaoke on Sundays. I like the weavery and cooking in the house.

1) Being with everyone. It is better being close to the village

2) The fun that I have with friends.

3) Playing board games with others at Pond. I also enjoy the bakery, making all the bread.

1) Getting to know the new co-workers. I like being with my friends. I get on with everybody. It’s nice to live close to the shops and cafes.

2) The very best thing is the fun we have.

3) I like doing my horse job. I like spending time with everyone. I also like going out to concerts and things.

It was an honour for The Camphill Foundation UK & Ireland to provide financial support to this very worthwhile project and it is very rewarding to hear of the many positive outcomes and feedback from the people of Pond House. The trustees were delighted to see the success of the project first-hand when they visited Pond House during their recent visit to The Mount.

If you have a project on the horizon that you think may be eligible for financial support from The Camphill Foundation UK and Ireland, please click here to find out more.