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News Archive > General > Charity centre closing down

Charity centre closing down

By Natasha Swift 17th August 2011

A CHARITY which provides holidays and outdoor activities for young disabled people is set to close its Lanlivery centre.  
Vitalise said it had decided “with regret” to close the centre at Churchtown and focus its services on its three other UK centres, in Hampshire, Essex and Merseyside.
The day centre, activity centre and residential and self-catering accommodation for families has been leased for the past 10 years from the disability charity Scope.
Churchtown’s 12-acre centre caters for groups and individuals from six to twelve-years-old and the activities are fully accessible to people of all abilities.
In a statement Vitalise said: “As a result of Vitalise’s lease on the property coming to an end, a decision has been made to refocus more of the charity’s resources on its core service, namely the provision of short breaks with care for people with physical disabilities at its three accessible UK respite break centres.
“Therefore it is with regret that Vitalise operations at Churchtown will be ceasing by September 9. The activity centre closed on July 31 and the two accessible self-catering lodges in the grounds will close on August 31.
“Vitalise had hoped to transfer the activity centre and lodges to another specialist operator, but no satisfactory agreement could be reached.
“Vitalise is also to withdraw from providing the day service at Churchtown, which is partly commissioned by Cornwall Council, on September 9. The charity was at an advanced stage of negotiations with Scope, who were interested in taking over the service, but regrettably the discussions failed to reach mutually agreeable terms.
“However, Cornwall Council has agreed to facilitate further discussions between Vitalise and Scope, if Scope is willing to reopen discussions.”
Staff and service users said they have been left “heartbroken” after being told the centre would be closing on Thursday.
A concerned worker said: “The staff were told first, then the day service users. To say they were upset is an underestimation — they were all heartbroken. This place is very special and every one that stayed there loved it. It is one of only a handful of places in the country that can offer outdoor activities for disabled people. The day service is greatly enjoyed by all the users. Where are they going to go now?
“We are desperate for a way to keep it open — these people have been let down by Vitalise and Scope.”

By Natasha Swift 17th August 2011

Mark Hyde 14th September 2011 01:18
Very sad to hear the news just now after doing a search for churchtown farm that it is closing.

Im not from the Area, i live in Oldham,but when i was a kid, about 9 or 10 years old in the mid 80´s (a longer time ago than i care to admit) I spent about a week there along with other children and staff members from my school, Foxdenton special School in Oldham, and i can honestly say that to this day it is the best thing i ever did (and ive been to Orlando since then!!) i loved every minute of it and still grin like the cheshire cat every time i look at photos of my time there.

I remember rock climbing (got a picture of me sitting on a ledge halfway up the rockface having my shoe put back on because it fell off)sailing, field walks, and lots of other things that we did, things that at that time i didnt have access to where i lived so it felt like anything was possible there, and like i was free. its a time i will never forget as long as i live, I was actually considering going back for a few days if i could just to see how much, if at all, it had changed.

Hopefully a buyer will be found, its a place that deserves to be around for a long time yet.
onefatcrip 27th March 2014 08:06
I was gutted to read of this. I was one of the first group of kids to attend here in 1976. I am so diappointed that I arranged to visit and take photos of the place before it is sold on. (Probably to a developer who will carve it into souless holiday flats). I plan to use my research, and the cherished memories I have of Churchtown Farm, in a novel Im writing.
Luke Eveleigh 15th October 2015 07:04
I went to stay at Churchtown Farm, Lanlivery, for a weeks break on seven occasions spanning from Wednesday 29th July 1992 till my last time I been for Easter week commencing Monday 31st March 1997. It was always nice having a holiday in Churchtown, doing the challenging course, going to the farm, canoeing on the River Fowey and days out to Flambards, etc. I miss those days. I still have ´old´ photos from those times I been to the centre in the 1990s. I was only 18 when I last went.
Luke Eveleigh 17th March 2017 19:59
During my times at Churchtown Farm on holiday during the occasions I stayed for a week, between 1992 and 1997, I only had to travel thirty miles from where I lived in Millbrook (Cornwall) to Lanlivery for a week´s respite from my family. I enjoyed my times meeting new people, travelling to Fowey, Helman Tor, Bodmin Moor, Polzeath and many more places in Cornwall during the times I was there in my teenage years as an adult with disabilities and ASD. I went there with a local group from a Liskeard day-service, at the time my father used to work in their office with his colleagues who organized the holiday outings. I was sad to hear that the centre closed in 2011 after it opened for 35 years as an outdoor education centre. This place brings back good and happy memories.
May 5th October 2017 18:51
How utterly sad to stumble upon such heartbreaking "news"... I, like my forecommentators, spent some of the very best days of my life there. We stayed with a youth group for wheelchair kids from germany in 2005. It was my very first chance to leave home for a holiday without my family wich is a huge step towards freedom for an 18 year old. And it was exactly what the experience gave me these days. Rarely felt so free and accepted just by being able to access every spot on the grounds and in the main building. The day trips the staff managed for us to make were breathtakingly beautiful. The whole place and its surroundings are just like cut out from a fairytale - and a wheelchair friendly at that! Cornwall is in some places close to what I think paradise might be like. Most disabled friendly facilities are nice and neatly trimmed but as so often, everything feels like a kindness. In Churchtown the building and playground, the garden, everything felt simply natural as it was. Not planned on a posh charity banquet but naturally grown and built by people who donīt see a ramp in a staircase as something unusual. God, itīs so, so sad that those great days and possibilities wonīt be there for future kids like we were than... This first ever alone holiday had a huge impact on my personality and even today I still draw strength from all those happy memories... With all my heart I wish that someday someone will revive and restore this very special, and in its beauty unique, facility!
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