Ravenswood is the perfect 'forever home' for Harry and having that peace of mind means the world to me
Despite his multiple and complex needs from birth, Harry has always been a very active 'outdoorsy' young man - he will be celebrating his 30 birthday later this year and has lived at Ravenswood in The Pamela Barnett Centre for the past 12 years.
This is his home and after a day's activities he is always happy to return to the comfort of his room to enjoy a relaxing jacuzzi bath, with music and lights before snuggling up and drifting off to some classical music or a story CD.
Transition from children to adult services was very hard for Harry and it took him a long time to settle in his new home, because it requires patience, knowledge and understanding to get to know him and interpret his needs. Harry is non verbal, so is unable to express himself or communicate what he wants, but he knows what he likes and what he doesn't!
Over the past 12 years he has built strong relationships with all the dedicated staff and therapists that have contributed to his life at Ravenswood and is extremely happy and settled. The staff are well trained in intensive and greater interaction techniques and provide a person-centred, holistic approach to Harry's care. They have always welcomed my guidance and support to help Harry achieve his potential and give him as much independence and choice in his life as possible.
Pamela Barnett has a state of the art sensory room that all residents enjoy, large airy rooms and each flat has its own lounge, dining/kitchen area. The Village itself is in a beautiful, peaceful rural setting, surrounded by fields and close to nature, where residents can wander safely, meet with their friends or get together in the cafe for art therapy, weekly disco evenings, games and bingo. The weekly cinema evenings in the Synagogue, are also very popular with all the residents.
The nature of Harry's spastic quadraplegia means he requires a weekly programme of complimentary therapies to maintain his physical wellbeing, such as riding, rebound, massage and hydrotherapy and these are all available at Ravenswood.
Harry has always led a very active life and enjoys motion of any kind, but needs one to one assistance to enable him to do everything. He has an amazing quality of life at Ravenswood, which is all made possible by the team at the Village, to whom I will be forever grateful.
Ravenswood should be celebrated as the unique and special place that it is
Ravenswood is a diverse community within a community and his carers are his friends and extended family. Although not Jewish, Harry loves going to the Synagogue and also attends the local village church of St. Sebastians on a Sunday, where he is very much part of that family too. The Village is a short walk across the golf course into Crowthorne station, where Harry enjoys experiencing the trains zooming past.
He loves his monthly visit to me on the Dorset coast, where we all go to the beach, boating on the river, sometimes sailing or a speedboat ride around the bay in the summer. Harry's birthday in November is usually spent at the indoor ski slope in Hemel Hempstead, where family gets together to watch his instructor skiing with him over the bumps and down the slope, racing me to the bottom, followed by chocolate cake!
Most days Harry can be heard singing very loudly on his swing in the sensory garden, around the Village on his bike or on Gloria, his favourite pony, it's a delight to see. Harry is very close to his brother Jack, who lives in Hungary and when he comes back to the UK for a visit, they love hanging out together swimming in the hydro pool, going to the cinema locally, or enjoying fish and chips at the local pub.
Having carried out extensive research into the right provision for Harry, my prayers were answered when by chance a friend told me about Ravenswood - it is the perfect forever home for Harry and having that peace of mind means the world to me and his brother, Jack.
Ravenswood should be celebrated as the unique and special place that it is, because provision like this for people with complex needs is sadly lacking across the UK, so we must ensure its sustainability for all its 96 residents and future generations.
Ravenswood Village is currently under consultation with the possibility of closure. Please show your support for our families and friends to keep their home by signing the petition below. These are vulnerable people who deserve to continue to live where they feel happy, loved and safe.