the Lantern community

The Lantern Community is located on the outskirts of Ringwood near the New Forest

The Lantern Community is located on the outskirts of Ringwood and currently is a home to 53 companions in our 12 houses. The Lantern Community is a multifaceted organisations with a number of activities and departments. 

We can offer:

  • Personal Care services to meet the care needs of adults with different abilities who live in or near the Lantern community Estate or who use the Day services on the estate.

  • The provision of Housing for adults with different abilities who chose to live within a social and therapeutic community.

  • The provision of support services to assist in developing the adults with different abilities independence and enabling them to maintain their tenancy.

  • Providing meaningful day activities which create opportunities for work experience, lifelong learning, artistic and educational development. 

  • Community living.

The Lantern Community – A Brief History



The Lantern Community shares, with all other Camphill Communities, the values and vision that first inspired their founding by Dr. Karl König, an Austrian pediatrician and educator.

He fled the Nazi invasion of his own country and settled in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1939 with a group of young physicians, artists and caregivers. These individuals founded the first Camphill community with children having learning disabilities.

Karl König (1902-1966)

Folly Farm Cottage c. 1920

Sheiling Course Leaflet

Dr. König and his colleagues were inspired by Anthroposophy and the teaching of philosopher and educator Rudolf Steiner. Dr. König’s vision was to develop Camphill communities together with people who have special needs. His unique and effective approach focused on the abilities of each person, not the disabilities.

Whoever lives or works in a Camphill community support and learn from each other in a process of mutual interaction, each individual contributing his or her own special gifts and talents.

The International Camphill Movement consists of more than 100 communities in 20 countries. Camphill continues to work to create communities in which children, youth, and adults with special needs can live, learn, and work with others in healthy social relationships based on mutual care and respect.


The work with adolescents with special needs first began on the Sheiling Estate in The Sheiling School in 1970 for pupils of the school who had completed their formal education and was called the ‘Training College’.

In 1980 an addition to the College was established as ‘The Sheiling Vocational Course’ and this began in Folly Farm Cottage with six ‘trainees’ with the aim of developing vocational skills and introducing them to the world of work. Within Camphill the work with young adults was being established in many communities and was embraced under the title of ‘Youth Guidance’.

Folly Farm Cottage 2004

The ‘trainees’ would move on to other ‘adult’ placements in the wider community, or perhaps to a Camphill community, at around the age of 25 years.

In a separate development, efforts were being made to purchase a farm in the locality and this was finally achieved in 1983 when Sturts Farm in West Moors was acquired. Both the Sheiling Vocational Course and Sturts Farm were involved with Youth Guidance and as a result shared resources and expanded the training programme, formally joining together as ‘Sheiling Farms’ in the same year.

As the years passed, the majority of ‘Trainees’ previously in the age group 19-25 then became adult ‘Companions’ beyond their 25 years. Appropriate places to move on to were becoming difficult to find and many wished to stay in a community that they recognised as home, and continue the relationships established with their peers.

In consequence, the focus on ‘training and education’ under ‘Youth Guidance’ moved to vocational and skills training and production for adults within its workshops and no defined age at which people were required to leave.

So it was in a celebration on St. Martins Day, 11 November 1997 that the ‘birth’ of The Lantern Community took place

‘In recognition of the life and deeds of St. Martin, who in a selfless and compassionate way, gave warmth and strength to those in need’.

From its small beginnings in 1980 in one house with six residents, The Lantern Community now has 12 house communities providing a home to over 50 people and provides day placements for a further 35.

The Lantern Community Charity

The Care and Support service is operated by The Lantern Community, company number 3773749 and registered charity number 1075845. Please visit the Charity Commission website for full details of the Lantern Community Charity and to view the most recent Annual reports and audited accounts.

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