4.9 Information Plaques
The need for information plaques on or near the site of former communities reflects the fact that former children often return to remember and reconnect and to share such an important part of their growing up with their partners or children; but an absence of a marker - or in some instances even evidence that a school or community had ever been there - could intensify a sense of dislocation; especially for people whose childhoods were already wrapped in fragmentation and uncertainty. On the other hand, a plaque marking the site of the community would confirm that it (and they) had indeed existed, and would remind the local community of a meaningful part of the local heritage. Wherever there is a therapeutic residential community there are also families living in the community, local tradesmen, and involvements and encounters of many kinds, good and bad.
Designing and agreeing a plaque is a first step, but only a first step, in a long process rightly involving the local community and the many different stakeholders and interests within it; and of course installation can never be a given until all the stakeholders agree. Given the unexpectedly high take-up of the project generally, and the additional demands this made on the project team (see Section 6), it was agreed as a form of triage to prepare the plaques, and to pursue their installation once the core Activities of the project had been successfully completed.
The plaque illustrated here was designed by Croft Castings of Sneatonthorpe, near Whitby in North Yorkshire, and is used with their permission. The plaque shown is a proposed draft for a possible plaque; it is not a final, agreed version, and a plaque may or may not be installed on site.