Two houses will open this year in Mathews—one by the end of this month and the other in the fall—to provide new opportunities for intellectually disabled individuals in this region and beyond.
The houses, located off a private road near Dutton, are part of The Brambles, a multi-campus facility owned by Clyde and Mary Forrest of Mathews. They also own The Brambles Day Support Center on Main Street and Bella Terra, a complex of six houses at North where almost 30 persons reside.
"This will be special," Clyde Forrest said of their new project. Besides housing up to six adults in each house, he said, the Dutton facility already includes active farmland—which is leased—and they plan to add a few cows and horses to bring a bit more nature to the residents there and some of those who use The Brambles’ other properties.
Also, the Forrests said they want to plant a garden the Dutton residents can help maintain and, if they receive county permission, erect a greenhouse on the property for a year-round growing experience.
The Forrests said they may add a dozen or more staff members to manage the new units, with staff assisting with cooking, hygiene, dispensing of medications and other life skills.
Some of the Dutton residents will participate in activities at the day center, where about 30 people now attend, said Jody LoMenzo, a representative from Point of View, a Richmond marketing firm that represents The Brambles. Others may stay all day at the Dutton houses, which she said will be called The Brambles at New Life Harbor, or some might have employment. Some current Brambles residents are employed already, she said, while others, unable to hold a job, participate in activities at the houses and the day center.