The Pixton 3rd Age Project
Within the Forest Row area, in recent years there has been a clear need expressed for some form of accommodation for older people which can offer more than just a basic room and a communal lounge where the TV is never switched off. St Anthony’s Trust, together with the Anthroposophical Society in Sussex and Emerson College have formed a project group to look at the possibility of converting Pixton House at Emerson College into a different kind of residential accommodation, which we are calling the Pixton Third Age Project (P3A). The aim is to offer older people not only attractive small flats for independent living but also access to all the cultural facilities and beautiful grounds of the college – and with the added bonus of being part of the Emerson community.
The intention is to provide around twenty apartments for older people within Grade II-listed Pixton House. Pixton will not be a care home but a “co-housing” scheme with an emphasis on residents as individuals leading autonomous lives within a supportive community, while having access to all of the cultural facilities at Emerson College. We are also actively pursuing the possibility of providing an anthroposophically-trained care team, whose services could be called on by residents in need of physical care.
Even at this early stage, several people (individuals and couples) have expressed an interest in coming to live at Pixton. An architect, project manager, quantity surveyor and planning consultant are currently being appointed to take us to the point where a planning application can be submitted to Wealden District Council. We anticipate that apartments should be ready for occupation by late 2020, and over the coming months will be bringing together prospective residents with the architect and project group in order to discuss the design and accommodation details that will best meet the needs of older people.
The Architectural Heritage Fund has made us a grant offer of £19,000, provided that we can match-fund (ie raise £19,000) ourselves. To date, we have raised just over £11,600, so are now looking to raise an additional £7,400.
How to get involved
If you would like to know more about P3A, or can help in any way, please get in touch. If you are able to offer financial assistance (£7,400 remaining to be raised of the £38,000 needed to take us to the planning application stage), then we would be very pleased to hear from you. Gifts can be made through St Anthony’s Trust using the “Donate” button below. If you are a UK resident, please consider filling in Gift Aid details to increase the value of your donation at no extra cost.
If you have further queries or would like to register interest in living at Pixton, please email Jeremy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Straw Bale home for Peter Brown
St Anthony’s Trust is supporting Tablehurst Farm in its project to provide a home for the retirement of farmer Peter Brown, to thank him for his 21 years of devoted service and hard work on behalf of biodynamic community-owned farming in Forest Row.
Architectural drawings by courtesy of Nicolas Pople Architects.
Peter Brown and Tablehurst Farm
Tablehurst Farm as it is today wouldn’t exist without the dedicated work of Peter Brown. Peter and his late wife Brigitte arrived at the farm in 1994 with their three children. Totally committed to biodynamic and sustainable agriculture and with the strong sense that Tablehurst needed to be a community farm in the fullest sense of the word, Tablehurst Farm has become:
- a farm dedicated to the wellbeing of the land, plants, animals and people
- a source of wholesome and delicious food for the local community
- a place where young farmers and growers want to learn, work and live and which provides employment for 25 people
- a popular meeting place for local people, with its own shop and café and weekend pizzas and barbecues
- a farm which includes a care home for three adults with learning disabilities
- a community-owned biodynamic/organic farm safeguarded for generations to come
Peter has always put the farm and our community first and has never had an opportunity to build up assets of his own. Over the years he has had to move home several times into different farm properties, as younger farm workers have started families and have needed his accommodation. Now that Peter is well on the road to recovery after major heart surgery, the time has come to thank him for his devoted efforts on behalf of biodynamic community-owned farming in Forest Row by providing him with a home for his retirement on the farmland that he has cared for so well. It has been Peter’s dream to build a straw bale house as a eco-home on the farm, which he sees as a particularly suitable form of accommodation for people living on biodynamic and organic farms.
We have almost raised our £100k target total and Peter, together with a team of volunteers, has already made excellent progress with the building of the straw bale house, which he hopes to have completed in time to move in just before Christmas 2018. You can see some pictures from the project and hear more about Peter’s straw bale building adventures here:
The straw bale house
This house will be for Peter to live in for the rest of his life. It’s a delightful one-storey house with two bedrooms, with a lovely view over the Tablehurst millpond. Like all the other land and buildings, it will be owned by St Anthony’s Trust, and will eventually be available to house other farm workers.
Straw bale construction is a green and eco-friendly way of building that is very well insulated, cool in summer and warm in winter. Straw bale houses are also long-lasting – the oldest one in existence was built 140 years ago and is still in excellent condition.
Thanks to the generous and open-hearted response of the local community, we have already raised £98k of our target total of £100k. Please help us to finish the job and provide Peter Brown with a home so we can properly thank him for everything he has done for Tablehurst and biodynamic farming.
Your donations for this project will come through St Anthony’s Trust, which as a charity is able to claim Gift Aid from HMRC. This won’t cost you an extra penny but will, if you are a taxpayer, make a significant addition to your gift. Please contact our administrator if you would like to donate or leave your gift at the Tablehurst Farm Shop. Cheques should be made payable to St Anthony’s Trust.
We are currently exploring the possibility of placing St Anthony’s assets into a land trust to make the land farmed by Tablehurst and Plaw Hatch even more inviolable for the future.
Work with Emerson College
We are working with the college to ensure that biodynamic education and training develops into the future. This might include a Learning on the Land initiative for school children (currently on hold owing to funding restrictions) and a project for bee guardianship.