A COMMUNITY that aims to provide meaningful work opportunities and a better home life for adults with learning disabilities is hoping to expand its good work with a new craft centre.

The Lantern Community in Folly Farm Lane, Ringwood is home to 30 residents who are able to take part in a series of workshops onsite such as weaving, pottery, woodwork, crafts, arts, garden and estate work.

There is also a shop and café, which is open to the public, and a bakery. Residents live in seven houses on-site and one off-site, supported by residential and non-residential staff.

The Lantern Community’s proposal, which was submitted to East Dorset planners last month, involves building a pottery and flexible adult education workshop together with a weaving and seasonal crafts workshop to replace existing facilities.

Emma Borbley, day services manager, said: “It’s been 10 years in the making to have a new craft centre to replace the existing buildings, which are made up of old sheds and adapted buildings.

“We also aim to open up the workspace to people who might have a child or care for an adult with learning disabilities for one-day workshops.”

The cost of the build is about £800,000 and the Lantern Community, which is part of the international Camphill Movement, is still fundraising.

Ms Borbley said: “Each person who lives here chooses where they want to work each day.

“They can choose two areas a day, although the majority of them will choose to focus in one particular workshop.”

One of the workshops is the thriving bakery, which is led by Ashley Black and uses organic ingredients. Its goods are sold in the shop and will be available at Ringwood Market in the spring.

The bakery is also part of the Real Bread Campaign.

Ms Borbley added: “We receive lots of local support, which is really good. They come in and see the people with learning disabilities working here and get to know them.

“People want to buy things that are made by people and have some meaning behind them.”

Donations for the workshop build can be made to Lantern Workshops and sent to Lantern community, Folly Farm Lane, Ringwood, Hants, BH24 2NN.

Or call 01425 479926 or visit lanterncommunity.org.uk.