Unprecedented increase in demand for its services
Camphill School Aberdeen has had planning approved for the build of a £3 million residential house and social enterprise on its Murtle Estate, near Bieldside.
The charity, which provides day and residential support to 95 children and young people with learning disabilities and complex additional support needs has been delivering life-transforming opportunities for children and young people with complex additional support needs for over than 80 years.
It has seen an unprecedented increase in demand for its services in recent years, with the pandemic putting families under increased strain.
To meet this growing need, Camphill School Aberdeen recently launched a major fundraising campaign to raise £10 million over 10 years. The campaign aims to increase its capacity by 60%, by building three new residential homes, developing the sustainable social enterprise, expanding its workshops and creating a certified internal awards centre.
Today’s announcement will see phase one of the project break ground on the 11-bedroom residential home with independent living wing later this year. The home will enable the charity to open its doors to more vulnerable young people in our community who are in urgent need of support. Work on Murtle Market, which secured planning permission last week, is anticipated to commence next year. The market will provide a zero-waste organic produce and refillery store, café and heritage centre.
Alex Bush, Executive Director of Camphill School Aberdeen, said: “Currently the demand for our services far exceeds our capacity, the only way to help more young people in the north-east is to make our plans come to life. We want to ensure that every young person who needs access to our support, receives it. Together with the support of the local community, we can build futures and transform lives.”
The new house has been designed by award-winning Glasgow architects Collective Architecture who worked with Camphill’s young people to create a home that will be environmentally sustainable and fully accessible.
Alex continued, “The residential house will enable us to open our doors to even more young people who are in desperate need of our services and support. While Murtle Market will provide meaningful training and work opportunities for 54 young people aged 16 to 25 who have complex additional support needs. Since launching phase one of the capital appeal in February, we have raised a fantastic £1,855,000 but still need the support of the local community and businesses to raise the remaining 40% to fulfil our vision.”
Young people supported at Camphill often struggle in mainstream education and other care options - but thrive at Camphill School Aberdeen. Regardless of their abilities the children and young people at Camphill grow in confidence, independence and fulfil their potential – often achieving outcomes their families never thought possible. The school’s unique approach, integrates education, lifelong learning, and expert care within a therapeutic environment as part of a sustainable shared living community with onsite medical support.
Karen, mum of Laurence, a student supported by Camphill said: “As soon as we stepped onto Camphill Estate we knew this was somewhere special, a home from home that would celebrate Laurence for who he is. We were relieved to find a calm, accepting and loving environment in which our son could truly thrive. And for the first time, we were part of a strong support network we could call on any time. They see the young person and not the disability."
Founded in 1939 by a group of pioneering Austrian refugees led by Dr Karl König, Camphill School Aberdeen was the first of its kind in the UK, sparking the worldwide Camphill movement which now consists of over 120 independent charities, six of which are based in the north-east of Scotland.