Abundant Life partnership ends but project vision continues

Abundant Life partnership ends but Dartington Trustees remain committed to reworking its vision around fulfilling lives in older age


The Dartington Hall Trust has announced that its partnership with Sanctuary Group on Abundant Life, a project dedicated to enabling people to live well in older age, has ended.

This is due to a decision by the Dartington Trustees to withdraw from the partnership in order to rework the project. It follows concerns within The Trust about whether the current project would deliver its objectives in terms of social and community enrichment and design, while representing an investment that was financially sound.

The Foxhole site, where Abundant Life was to be based
The Foxhole site, where Abundant Life was to be based

Dartington will now review how to realise the vision at the heart of the project and reconsider options for the Foxhole site where Abundant Life was to be based. This will form part of its wider Estate Framework, a significant exercise in envisioning the future look and purpose of the whole estate and in creating a more sustainable Dartington.

Says Greg Parston, Executive Chairman of The Dartington Hall Trust: “There are inevitably tensions in any large scale development project when balancing the demands of vision, design, social objectives, commerciality and cost. This was no exception.

“The Trustees believe this balance is achievable and that we should now re-focus on how we can translate what is actually an incredibly exciting and relevant vision into reality. This will be aimed at bringing peace of mind, opportunity and companionship to the over 55s and rewarding employment to local people.”

Says Rhodri Samuel, Chief Executive Officer of The Dartington Hall Trust: “We recognise the immense professionalism, energy and commitment that Sanctuary Group brought to the development of the project.

“We also want to pay tribute to a remarkable community of support for Abundant Life, involving hundreds of local people, for putting their heart and soul into the project. We want to maintain these valuable relationships as we rework our plans over the next few months.”

Both Dartington and Sanctuary Group have been communicating the news personally to the volunteers, local businesses and members of the community who have been involved with the project – including an invitation to a drop-in at Dartington Hall on 1 February (11.30-14.30) for those with further questions or concerns. (Please note that the Upper Drive will be closed from roughly 10:30-10:50 on this morning for essential maintenance work, but should be open again in good time for this session.)

Media enquiries: please contact Claire Wheatcroft, Head of Communications, via claire.wheatcroft@dartington.org

 


 

4 thoughts on “Abundant Life partnership ends but project vision continues

  1. Like Esther Watson I know little about the Abundant Life project specifically but echo her comments about the loss of soul at Dartington, and hope the focus on financial objectives does not render any new projects soulless too. I only have stayed at Dartington Hotel once, but did find the experience a bit generic and corporate and the staff in the hotel and at the White Heart unmotivated and disinterested. I have heard old-timers echo the same concerns.Perhaps Tripadvisor and the like use a different yardstick to those of us looking for depth in our experience. I attend courses at wonderful Schumacher College from time to time however, and the difference is palpable, even though some of the premises are shared.

  2. Delighted! I’ve campaigned for some time for amore inspired use of this ,the only large brown field site in Dartington available for development. My proposal ,is to convert the Foxhole buildings into starter housing units addressing the huge need for young people,s housing, and reintroduce the vitality to the Estate sadly lost through the closure of Colleges and schools .This could be achieved much more cheaply than creating old people’s homes with wheel chair access etc within a listed building. The land between Foxhole and the Shops would be developed to create a vibrant mix of housing and studios with ideal access to services, cycle tracks etc.This could revitalise the flagging Shops,’ a new Quarter’. The whole scheme would regenerate the Dartington ‘Mission’, tick all the ‘boxes’, and be profitable. My report ,Oct 2013 ,on this subject is available.

  3. I don’t know much about the mentioned project except that many people seemed excited about it . So it’s a pity you couldn’t make it work .
    What I do care about is the white hart bar , after the costly refurbishment that stripped the soul out of a perfectly nice bar , Darlington still can t make it a nice place to go and a drink / meal . Not only do the staff seem woefully uninterested but I be heard numerous reports that they re not treated very well . Thus a high staff turnover , little build up of relationships between staff and customer … Resulting in a not much frequented bar . You d think with all theoney dartington throws at the management you d get this right . Firstly , get good staff , treat them well , pay them properly , get rid of that silly new bar, and put the soul back in . There it is ! Easy !

    1. Dear Esther

      Thank you for your comment and we are sorry to hear this. There are many areas at Dartington that we are looking at developing in the future as part of our wider Estate Framework and our commitment to improving our wider visitor experience and we will take your comments on board regarding any future refurbishment plans.

      I am surprised to hear your comments regarding the high turnover of staff as the team at Dartington have been consistent and have achieved some very good accolades. Some of these rewards include certificate of excellence from Trip Advisor including the 4-star gold category for accommodation, 2 AA rosettes for food and service in the White Hart and most recently a 5-star EHO rating for food hygiene. However there are always areas for improvement and my team and I continue to work hard to make it an enjoyable experience for all our guests.

      I am sure you will agree this indicates the team’s motivation in working for Dartington as the above accolades are testament to this. We are also one of the very few hospitality sector companies locally who pay our staff above the minimum wage and are committed to pay the living wage as per the living wage foundation from April 2016.

      If you would like to discuss any comments regarding the White Hart I am always available in person to discuss your feedback for future improvements.

      Kindest Regards

      Tej Walia
      General Manager

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