The Caldecott Community - Summary-What is it?
The Caldecott Community was founded in 1911 by the 28 year old Leila Rendel. Miss Leila (as she was known to all) was a wealthy, well connected, lady who believed that creating the right environment could help disadvantaged children develop their true potential. She led the Community until 1967 and sadly died in 1969, but the need and the care continues to this day.
Originally a day nursery in St. Pancras, London, providing care for children of low income families, it was among the most adaptable and geographically mobile of the pioneering children’s communities. For a brief time during World War II the Authorities classed it as an ‘Approved School’, but its ethos never changed. During it's life it made five significant geographical moves before finally finding fifty years of security and permanence by moving to Mersham-le-Hatch, Ashford, Kent, in 1947.
As well as providing residential care for vulnerable children - with changing definitions over time – it explored a variety of provisions including an experimental Reception Centre and a Group Home, as well as providing primary education until the age of eleven.
To meet the ever changing needs of the modern world, it has now evolved into the Caldecott Foundation, still based in Smeeth, Kent.