Our Story

Simple Beginnings & The Community Today

Our Origins

The Community began when Lilah and Benedict inspired in part by the 17th Century Little Gidding community began what was really a religious experiment in their own home. Almost at once people came and joined us and there soon began a process that was to lead to work with the seriously mentally ill. In 1973 when Benedict was ordained a Priest of the Russian Orthodox church and moved to serve a parish in Devon, the Community began to have a visible form with formal referrals. Father Benedict is very proud that modern descriptions of the Community refer to it as ‘entirely secular’ and that it has come to be recognised as a meaningful and very successful demonstration of what community care can make possible. We do not represent any alternative treatment of mental illness but rather a new setting in which conventional medical treatment can achieve vastly improved results. The original setting of our work in a family, a large one with lots of children is now replaced by a collection of households on various models such as for example a group of students living together and there is still an emphasis on domesticity and enjoyment which we think is of enormous importance.
Father Benedict Ramsden
Community Founder

They have an exceptional way of making it feel like a home rather than just a house.

Quote from Community Resident in Maria Skobtsova House’s CQC inspection report April 2015.

The Community Today

The Community now has many houses in rural and urban settings, where people live and make their home, a large staff team dedicated to working alongside and supporting individuals as well as an administrative support team. The family has grown up but it is still very much involved in the life of the Community.

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Through the years the Community has grown and developed, but it has remained our consistent aim to preserve its sense of domesticity, sanctuary and belonging, enabling those living with us to find a place in the wider community.