The Earthworks Story
25 years ago our journey began with the closure of five large psychiatric hospitals that were situated in and around St Albans. Residents made the positive move into supported, community-based housing. But integration was lacking.
The Earthworks steering committee formed in response to these changes in social care. We aimed to meet the aspirations of people with learning disabilities for social involvement and creative occupation. Our driving principle was, and still is, to develop a place where all people are enabled to work together as equals.
Our extensive consultation with service users, carers and social services revealed land-based activity to be the most popular creative occupation. Thus Earthworks developed as a charity offering training and work experience in horticulture and conservation.
After five years' preparation and consultation, we leased a two-acre site of waste ground in Hixberry Lane, St Albans from the District Council. We devised a range of training activities and work experience and employed a full-time Project Leader.
We built and developed the site with an environmental ethos using largely reclaimed materials. Supported by volunteers, local schools and community groups, we were people of all abilities learning and working together.
From an empty two-acre field and a vision, we now have a flourishing 3.5 acre site boasting habitat, production and sensory spaces as well as a purpose built eco-building. We are involved in a number of projects and ventures on-site and in the community. Take a look at our projects page to see our latest developments!