A new care home for ten severely autistic young adults opened in Alfold in July last year. The home is called Linden Farm and is situated by Alfold church on a six acre site.
Six of the young people have so far moved in and are enjoying the fantastic location and facilities. Surrey County Council owns the site, Choice Care is providing the care and The Simon Trust is financing many of the facilities and equipment on the site.
It might be helpful to say a little about what autism actually is, as it is a very misunderstood condition. To some degree we are perhaps all a little autistic, when we want our own space and some peace and quiet. At one end of the wide autistic spectrum is Asperger’s with some very bright and focussed people, and stories abound about mathematicians and high tech entrepreneurs being at this end of the spectrum.
On the other end of the spectrum are those who have complex behavioural issues. These people can be non-verbal, sometimes challenging, and sometimes have additional health issues such as epilepsy but most characteristically they all live in their own world, socialising when it suits them. Joe, the little boy in the BBC ‘The A Word’ series is to some degree typical of the young people at Linden Farm – requiring enormous amounts of understanding and attention, especially as they grow into adulthood with all that involves. The strain of having a child with autism can be enormous on families, and care homes like Linden Farm are crucial for these young people as they grow up. There is space to let off steam from the many frustrations that affect them on a daily basis.
As parents we are very grateful to Surrey County Council for building Linden Farm and to Choice Care and their wonderful staff for looking after our sons and daughters. The Simon Trust is a new charity financing many of the on site facilities and it will be spending over £250,000 on Linden Farm over the coming years.
We are very grateful to the Alfold local community for their help and understanding and the young people are always looking for simple jobs that may need doing. Jobs in the Cranleigh area like litter picking, stuffing envelopes, delivering flyers and simple gardening tasks come to mind, but please bear in mind that their attention span is limited and progress can be slow.