Our history

Rowan set up to improve the lives of adults with learning disabilities through the provision of day services and meaningful activities. This was against the background of change through the Government publishing the Care in the Community White Paper which, radically at the time, sought to move people out of institutions and into the community.

With grant assistance from the NHS and Cambridgeshire County Council, four Cambridge professionals backed the formation of the charity, called The Rowan Foundation. These were economist Dr Alex Morris, chartered surveyor John Pocock, chartered accountant Hugh Lanham and legal executive Michael Jarvis.

Initially a small woodwork project was started out of an industrial unit at Robert Davis Court, Nuffield Road and then Barnwell Drive, Cambridge.


Rowan moved into the current site on Humberstone Road. This was the former site of a Kodak film processing unit and provided an industrial site right in the middle of a residential area.


Ceramics workshop established.


A new charity, Rowan Humberstone, was established to provide a strong social enterprise ethos, enhancing the sustainability and future of Rowan for its beneficiaries.


Mixed media workshop established and the Rowan garden is officially opened with support from Cambridge University’s Gardening Service.


Textiles workshop established.


Print workshop established.


The Rowan building is redeveloped better to meet the needs of student artists, including more open spaces and upgraded care facilities.


Drama and music workshops established.



Rowan celebrates 35 years with a Ceilidh!



Rowan quickly responded and remained connected to student artists by providing remote services including online Zoom workshops and socials, art at home activity packs, welfare calls and much more.

Small in-person Covid-safe workshops ran in line with Covid-19 guidance.

Rowan Rangers forest school launched as outside projects were considered safer for Covid-19.


Rowan celebrates it's 40th anniversary! 

Throughout the year we will be hosting fundraising events with our 

Read More2021

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It costs over £600,000 a year to run Rowan. Can you help us?


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