Rowan set up to improve the lives of adults with learning disabilities through the provision of day services and meaningful activities. This was against the background of change through the Government publishing the Care in the Community White Paper which, radically at the time, sought to move people out of institutions and into the community.
With grant assistance from the NHS and Cambridgeshire County Council, four Cambridge professionals backed the formation of the charity, called The Rowan Foundation. These were economist Dr Alex Morris, chartered surveyor John Pocock, chartered accountant Hugh Lanham and legal executive Michael Jarvis.
Initially a small woodwork project was started out of an industrial unit at Robert Davis Court, Nuffield Road and then Barnwell Drive, Cambridge.1984
Rowan moved into the current site on Humberstone Road. This was the former site of a Kodak film processing unit and provided an industrial site right in the middle of a residential area.1993
Ceramics workshop established.1994
A new charity, Rowan Humberstone, was established to provide a strong social enterprise ethos, enhancing the sustainability and future of Rowan for its beneficiaries.2003
Mixed media workshop established and the Rowan garden is officially opened with support from Cambridge University’s Gardening Service.2011
Textiles workshop established.2013
Print workshop established.2015
The Rowan building is redeveloped better to meet the needs of student artists, including more open spaces and upgraded care facilities.2016
Drama and music workshops established.2017
Rowan celebrates 35 years with a Ceilidh!2019
Rowan quickly responded and remained connected to student artists by providing remote services including online Zoom workshops and socials, art at home activity packs, welfare calls and much more.
Small in-person Covid-safe workshops ran in line with Covid-19 guidance.
Rowan Rangers forest school launched as outside projects were considered safer for Covid-19.2020