A dedicated family centre
Clervaux Fold is a dedicated family centre working with Army Families attached to the nearby Catterick Garrison, as well as local non-military families. Made up of workshops for crafts and activities and a communal lounge area for socialising, the Fold also offers places for children to play. Alongside practical workshops, participants have access to a kitchen and dining room, planted gardens in the grounds outside, and the Clervaux Castle play area.
A positive community atmosphere
The Clervaux Fold has been funded by HM Treasury LIBOR Grant and builds on the successful programmes supported by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund. Therapeutic activities on offer give families positive, practical experiences, which help them to bond and restore their sense of well-being. Children benefit from the freedom and safety of the site, which offers a wide range of sensory experiences so important to healthy, holistic child development.
A positive community atmosphere has been created through the interaction and friendship of Civilian and Military families alike. This is especially the case for families with children with special needs. Clervaux Fold is operated by Ruskin Mill Trust which has developed its research led way of working in special needs education and social care for over thirty years. Clervaux Fold works with the Trust’s method of Practical Skill Therapeutic Education (PSTE).
“We felt like we were part of one big family.”
– Fold participant
Military Families at Clervaux
The military families who come to The Fold are essentially no different from anyone else who meets the PSTE method and they engage in the same land and craft activities. They may have additional cares such as: the strain of army life, the dislocation of postings, the worry of separation especially in times of conflict. The Fold addresses these cares implicitly rather than explicitly. We have found that the beautiful surroundings of Clervaux do much of our work for us.
Children can run freely and safely in fields with no fear from traffic, while parents can relax, often wanting to do little else but sit and chat. More personal requests (some of the families have children with special needs) are addressed professionally and personally by the staff. For the past seven years we have been working with mixed groups of military and civilian families which allows for up to thirty adults and children to visit Clervaux one Saturday per month.
“My eldest son was able to bond with his dad and carry out woodwork. Together they built a stool, of which my son was very proud and this has gained him a craft badge in Scouts. Attending the farm has built our children’s confidence so much.”
– Participant on the benefits of family craft activities at Clervaux Fold
A Typical Day
The day begins at 10.00am with coffee and biscuits. Our farmer, Gilberto, then takes the whole group on his round of feeding the animals. Collecting the warm, freshly laid eggs is a firm favourite for many of the children. This leaves enough time to begin a craft session. Pottery is always popular as well as woodwork, with textiles providing a warm, homely space.
Several times a year guest craft workers demonstrate their expertise in willow weaving, mosaics, recycled jewellery and lino printing. Lunch is served at 1.00pm and is cooked from biodynamic produce from our own garden as far as possible. There is then time to continue the craft session after lunch before the day comes to a close at 3.30pm.
To find out more about Clervaux Fold, please contact Lone Helliwell, Clervaux Fold Manager on +44 (0) 7812 234 372 | +44 (0) 1325 729 860 ext 3004 | [email protected]
Clervaux Fold, Clow Beck Eco Centre, Jolby Lane, Croft-on-Tees, North Yorkshire, DL2 2TF