BERRY House may seem like an ordinary house in an ordinary street, but inside its doors are some special people - both those who stay there and those who look after them. Opened in the Newport area of Barnstaple in 1990 by a group of parents under the For

BERRY House may seem like an ordinary house in an ordinary street, but inside its doors are some special people - both those who stay there and those who look after them.Opened in the Newport area of Barnstaple in 1990 by a group of parents under the Forget-Me-Not Project charity, Berry House provides respite care for local people with learning difficultiesover the age of 18 .Since then the house and its staff have enabled parents and carers to have some "time out" - mainly for holidays and emergencies.Now it is expanding into day care and part-day provision, with clients enjoying activities such as computer skills, drama, singing, music, art and cookery as well as supervised walks to take them out into the community.A new "sitting" service is also being introduced to provide an opportunity for parents or carers to enjoy what most people take for granted - an occasional night out.As well as easing the pressures on carers, Berry House also aims to help those being cared for to enjoy themselves while learning new daily living skills and to encourage them towards greater independence through its range of activities. Spokeswoman Jane Batchelor said: "The Forget-Me Not Project was set up in 1983 by a group of parents and interested people who knew there was a real need for a respite care service for people with learning difficulties. They opened a bank account, started fund-raising, set up the charity and went on from there. Fund-raising is an ongoing problem. Our aim at the moment is to attract new people and specifically to target the younger clientele. To do this we need to raise our profile. We are the only dedicated respite care service in the area, so we need to secure our future."To help with the setting up of the new day care service, house manager Martin Thompson will be taking part in a sponsored sky dive this summer, with a tandem 10,000 feet drop.Anyone wishing to help with sponsorship can call him on (01271) 323879 or visit the website www.berryhouseonline.com