Ruskin Mill Land Trust (RMLT) specialises in developing award-winning educational and cultural centres out of heritage buildings, and has thirty years’ experience in working with vulnerable people with learning difficulties and mental health problems, with eight centres throughout England and Wales. It works in partnership with our sister charity, Ruskin Mill Trust, to provide the physical and aesthetic setting for our unique educational method, Practical Skills Therapeutic Education, and the charity’s therapeutic mission invites community participation through social enterprise.
Many aspects of the historical craft and industrial processes, namely woollen mills at its Gloucestershire property, glass manufacturing at its Stourbridge property, and cutlery at its Sheffield property, provide invaluable work experience and progression into work for the students of Ruskin Mill Trust Limited. The charity’s iconic and often listed buildings also provide interest to the local communities, who benefit from access to our arts and craft centres, farms and gardens. Our biodynamic, Demeter-registered land is of the highest quality, offering enhanced environmental integration, providing quality food, and many bespoke learning and work experience opportunities.
The charity also invests into a research programme, coordinated from The Field Centre (www.thefieldcentre.org.uk) in Gloucestershire, that aims to develop the academic method underpinning the educational provision.
The Fold Family Centre will be operational next year offering rural respite programmes for service families from Catterick Garrison. It will comprise multi-use craft workshops, and kitchen and dining areas, with a rewarding and stimulating programme of crafts and outdoor activities.
The Fold is nestled into an educational farm at Croft-on-Tees, North Yorkshire, with 100 acres of market gardens, pasture and woodland. Families can enjoy spending time with the farm animals, which bring many healing qualities, particularly the goats, chickens and donkeys. New gardens will create a therapeutic environment where families can grow and harvest vegetables, salads and flowers.
The warm environment and craft activities will help families bond after extended periods of deployment, and will help with facing fears and anxieties around dealing with injury, facing leaving the services, and concerns over their security and sense of identity: restoring a sense of wellbeing.
Children will benefit from the freedom and safety of the site, with a wide range of sensory experiences – touch, smell, taste, balance and movement – that are so crucial to healthy child development.
The Fold can offer support for service parents with special needs children: the Trust has expertise in working with adults and young people with learning disabilities, and can provide guidance that parents find reassuring and helpful.
The Family Centre will be available all through the week. Parents will be able to get away from the intensity of the Garrison, take a walk, feed the animals, or relax with a cup of tea.
The Fold will also be open to civilian families, offering friendship and stability to the military families – important for both parents and children. Together with the young people and adults living and studying at Clervaux, they will mutually benefit from the shared social enterprise, therapeutic activities and sense of self-worth.