Extracts from emails received from Nicole Kujat (nee Ponpetzki) | Added to the site March 2019.
30th January 2019
“When I was 25, meaning 25 years ago, I worked as a volunteer in the Cotswold Community and this short time in the boys’ home marked my life. Today I found an article on the internet about the facility, written by you and I felt the urge to write to you.
Today I am a secondary school teacher and I often remember my time in the Cotswolds.
Greetings from Germany.”
30th January 2019
“I came to the Community twice to work (in 1994 or 95) and a third time for a short visit.
I remember Steve. I recognised him on one of your photos too.
It’s hard to remember but I shared a flat with John Franklin during my first stay and I was friends with Liz and Stuart and Ian (an Irish worker), who left during my first stay.
When I came I was the first German volunteer as far as I remember and soon a girl from Bavaria joined and during my second stay, a girl I had talked to on the phone, before she came because you asked me to do so.
I got your personal bike and my first house was the old Bruderhof building [Larkrise] where the more advanced boys lived. There I remember Chris, the twins who were black, a boy who was very much into sheep and later lived in a separate building.
I had tutor times with some boys of other houses, Graham and Gary, and I worked in the school. I remember also having taught Shane and being part of some ‘holdings’ with Ashley, from another house, who used to go swimming with me. Nick died when he visited his mum during my stay and a smaller boy, possibly Paul, had a lot of individual time with me.
During my first stay the head of Larkrise was a very friendly tall man with dark hair who liked to work with Steve.
When I came the second time, I had a lot of tutoring times and helped out in one of the schools where Gary and Graham were. Stuart was Graham’s key worker and he was good to work with. I took the boys out several times on my own for trips or swimming lessons, especially Graham on leaving days, when most of the boys went home.
Because of my memories of my work at the Cotswolds, many years later my husband and I took a foster son into our family and it worked out well. My youngest son is now 15 and I often tell him and my students about my time with the boys.
I always wanted to show my son the area and it’s a pity that the home does not exist any more.”
1st February 2019
“I remember Paul [Van Heeswyk] well. A lot of what he taught me in our private sessions, especially the psychoanalytics, I still use in my daily work. Peter [Millar] I remember as well. Apart from being a regular teacher in secondary and junior school, I am responsible in our school for all kinds of obsessions and addictions that occur with students. On a daily basis I work together with older students and teachers, sometimes parents, to create a good school atmosphere and we are quite successful. Additionally, our school has a voluntary teachers team that comes together regularly to discuss certain ‘cases’ and to advise students, parents and fellow teachers on all kinds of problems. I belong to this team too.
So the CC really marked my life and I am still regularly in England, being responsible for a students exchange with the IVC in Impington/Cambridge.
All my experience with the CC qualified me for Jermain, our foster son, who came to our family when he was almost 11, and left our family when he was 20 due to girlfriend and job. He still lives nearby and comes around each fortnight. Before he moved in with us he was in a children’s home for two years, being the son of an alcoholic mother who couldn’t look after him.”