The idea base
The ideas and principles Skovsgård Hotel and other activities has been developed according to are named PHIL:
P for production, as an alternative to sheltered workshops, with an emphasis on development and meaningful employment.
H(in danish handicap) for the disabled – blurring the gap between different groups of people with disabilities – break down the stall system – and bridge the gap between disabled people and normal population.
I for integration – work for active integration in the local area by which the disabled person can take on useful tasks and be recognised as a person with resources.
L for local communities, help keep alive a decaying community.
One can sum it up in this way: the aim is to allow people with a disability to become “employees” rather than “users” and become “fellow citizens” instead of “clients”.
Hotel Skovsgaard employs today 20 people with very different mental challenges and even though this little video (duration 1 min and 40 seconds) only goes in Danish language – it still tells and understandable story about the importance of innovation and strong believes when it comes to build up good and diverse opportunities for people with ID.
The presentation text video on the video “Hello at the Hotel” refers to the English comedy series with John Cleese “Faulty towers”. A comedy series based on stories that guests should be prepared for not everything necessarily going on as usual in a hotel and eatery.
The local opinion
Opinions have been divided on the development of Skovsgaard among the local inhabitants. As a result, the entire company Skovgaards project launched a well-being survey in the village. Flg is a selection from the following report.
Selected passage from the conducted interviews.
J: You were born and raised here in the area…. How do you sense the attitude to these places?
I: The vast majority positive, but I have also heard the voices that are more skeptical, for example in relation to the fact that there are too many houses in Skovsgaard that are being sold to institutions, and that it was better that some families with children came into the houses. I think that’s a terrible nonsense. As far as I can tell, they buy houses that are already hard to sell. It is not easy to sell the houses in Skovsgaard. The families with children are not exactly queuing up to buy the houses, so I think we should be happy that there will be life in the houses in other ways.
(local citizen, Interview M)
Of course, some of these people think so because of an attitude about “these people I don’t like”. But that is not the usual attitude of people in the area. The common attitude is that the people welcome all these people who come here, are nice and talk to them and try to integrate them as best as you can now in this community, but as I said, you get there at a time when you can say that now they take up too much space in the community.
(local citizen, Interview L)
If you look at the positive side, you help keep the hotel going .m and you help create different activities in the city. You help keep the grocery store going, etc. That cannot be questioned.
(local citizen, Interview M)
This is a difficult discussion, because it is very easy to be accused of one thing or another. After all, it is a certain group we are talking about, and as soon as you start touching it, you are told that you cannot be familiar with it. They can’t defend themselves, so it’s been difficult (the discussion). It would have been easier to discuss if they would have started a juvenile detention centre or dug underground.
Local Citizen, Interview S
Although the hotel’s website is not available in English, there is inspiration to be gained by copying the Danish text and using google translate.