Young people in general need to have the chance to find themselves and to find their place in the world. Those with special needs are no different in this respect. Beannachar strives to provide the security of a warm-hearted house community and to complement this with a lively and stimulating social life. In this respect Beannachar has the best of both worlds, enjoying the sheltered peace of a land-based working environment, yet also within walking distance of a bus stop.
The work meeting, an assembly of the whole community which starts every working day, offers each one an opportunity to orientate themselves within the whole community: we sing together, and each day hear from a different workshop about what they have been doing. Then we share any special events, items of news of general interest, or arrangements for the day, and we finish with another song.
To complement our working life, and of equal importance, we strive to create a lively and enriching social and cultural life, amongst ourselves but also in the context of the wider community. We place great emphasis on the celebration of the Christian festivals, and this provides the framework for many artistic activities such as drama, painting, music and singing.
Evenings and weekends provide ample scope for folk-dancing, games and sport, swimming, hobbies and crafts. The weekly 'Students' Meeting' in each house (attended by all students who wish to do so, and by one senior co-worker) is an important forum for a wide variety of issues.
The Saturdays are seen as an opportunity for students to make active choices and to pursue their own initiatives in spending time as they wish. They also provide a chance for people to learn to make use of the facilities of the nearby shops or of the city centre e.g. buses, haircuts, buying their own clothes, toiletries or other requisites. Through these experiences the students are seen to gain confidence in meeting the wider community, in handling their own money and in making their own decisions at whatever level is possible. When it is felt to be appropriate, students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own personal allowance in terms of budgeting and accounting.
On Sundays common activities are arranged amongst the members of the house community e.g. walks, outings, games or just relaxing.