We are a lifesharing community of about seventy-five people, some of whom have special needs, and who live together with volunteers of all ages and nationalities. Ballytobin was established in 1979 in the South East of Ireland as a therapeutic community for children and adults with multiple disabilities.
Ballytobin is a busy place, and there are many different aspects to our community life. We offer a home, and also training programmes for the adolescents and adults who are in our care. We also offer opportunities for young co-workers to learn to live with and care for others, and to gain a unique life-changing experience.
Our community has always been open to caring for challenging, disturbed and severely handicapped young people, alongside those who are more able and sociable. At present we care for twenty residents, seven of whom are in their late teens. In addition to our residents, long and short-term co-workers, a number of employed staff are also part of our community.
Residents, co-workers and employed staff work in many different areas of our community: some work on the farm or in our garden which provide us with fresh organic vegetables, milk and meat.
Others work in our small bakery, in our households, our weavery, and in our small forest, where there is always plenty to be done. Each resident, (supported by, or alongside co-workers and employed staff) regardless of their ability, is encouraged to take part in the interesting and meaningful opportunities to work which in turn keep our community alive, running, functional and above all lively and interesting.
Our rich cultural life finds its central home in Castalia Hall, where we celebrate festivals together, and host concerts and performances, many of which are open to the public. Adjacent to the community is our Biogas plant which supplies heating and hot water to the main community.
Ballytobin has always offered a variety of therapies to our residents which at present include eurythmy-movement, massage,therapeutic baths, art, music and coloured-daylight therapies.
Ballytobin comprises six house communities, which all include a greater or smaller number of people with special needs, who live in an extended 'family' with both long and short-term co-workers. Everyone takes a part in the running of the house, from cooking, cleaning and household tasks, to the maintenance and administration of the house, with everyone contributing what he or she can. The houses are overseen and run by long-term co-workers. A big effort is made to create a warm and secure home-life for all, but especially for those residents who have little or no contact with their own families.
Ballytobin enjoys a close relationship with the locality, and our neighbourhood welcomes us. There is plenty of mutual help and exchange with our neighours.
Ballytobin has a lot to offer. Get in contact with us if you would like to know more or if you are interested in joining us - we look forward to hearing from you!