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Roffey Park Origins

Roffey Park was founded in wartime Britain when the well-being of some individuals was being adversely affected by long working hours and wartime anxieties over bombing raids, rationing, and family members in the armed forces.  

Our History

In 1943, the National Council for the Rehabilitation of Industrial Workers took the bold decision to set up a Rehabilitation Centre to treat people in industry who were suffering from overwork, nervous strain and depression. The Council acquired two adjoining estates with beautifully secluded grounds in St Leonard’s Forest near Horsham, called Roffey Park and Beedingwood House. In 1946 Queen Mary visited Roffey Park after hearing about the work that was happening here (see image below).

The Rehabilitation centre aimed to treat stressed individuals in congenial surroundings away from the pressure of the workplace so that they could return to the workplace. Utilising a revolutionary, holistic approach that combined individualised medical treatment, dietary supervision, physical education and occupational therapy, the centre treated 1,700 patients in its first two years! 

In 1946, the Council formed Roffey Park Institute to meet the growing demand for research and training based on the constructive and educational approach of the Rehabilitation Centre. It also sought to investigate the ‘social problems’ in industry and the workplace, as well as the well-being of employees in businesses and factories. In 1947, Roffey Park Institute ran its first residential programme called Health and Human Relations in Industry and Research Studies. 

Our journey to now

In the late 1940s, our work became more focused on well-being in the workplace whilst the Rehabilitation Centre became part of the St Thomas’s Group of hospitals which was absorbed into the newly formed National Health Services. It ran its first bespoke development and international programmes in the 1950s and became an educational charity in 1967.

Now, Roffey Park Institute collaboratively designs and delivers bespoke programmes and tailored support to clients in the UK, Ireland and on an international scale. Although the outward appearance of Roffey Park has evolved since its early years, the core values of integrity and respect for the individual have not changed. 

To this day, our mission is rooted in breaking down barriers within workplaces, striving to create environments that are conducive to growth and success. As a charitable organisation, our research drives innovation which delivers measurable impact throughout our solutions globally. 

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What our client says about our services

Participant, Leadership Programme, University College Dublin

Excellent. I have done leadership courses before and was expecting more of the same, so was pleasantly surprised! I was really enthused and motivated by the content and the facilitators. The facilitators are clearly well-established in their field and inspired confidence and trust through their openness, their knowledge and their experience.

MSc in People and OD graduate 2024

The course was challenging, interesting, horizon-broadening and surprising. On the whole, brilliant lecturers and consistently excellent learner support.

Senior Leader, Scientific Research Organisation

Roffey Park’s approach is holistic; it’s about developing the organisation as a whole, not just improving individual skills. From the outset, Roffey Park invested time to build credibility, trust and fully immerse themselves in our organisation. This approach really added value, their preparation, level of understanding and attention to detail was incredible.

Senior HRBP, Global Technology Organisation

Absolutely brilliant and beautifully pitched journey through OD, self, group and organisations. Insightful, impactful, humbling, energising, uplifting and transformational. The best development programme I have been on.

Head of Learning and Development, Dimensions UK

I have always valued what Roffey Park bring to the table in response to the challenges we describe and how they tailor that to our business. The depth of their expertise and the quality of ideas and responses they offer is then further enhanced through stakeholder discussion and partnership working before we even start working with any delegates.

Senior Leader, Construction sector 

I’ve worked with Roffey Park for many years, and their approach is ideal. They carefully design each programme around our organisational needs and the skills our people require to achieve business goals. They provide the right programmes, for the right audience, in the right learning environment.

Sussex Health and Care

Realising that years of experiences does not make a good leader and that we all go through similar phases… the programme made new leaders feel that they are not alone in those challenges.

Photo of a man working at his laptop with another women also working in the background

About Roffey Park Institute

Roffey Park Institute is a centre of expertise in organisational development and a pioneer of action learning for over 75 years. For the last thirty years, our MSc in People and Organisational Development has been at the forefront of developing the practice and field of OD which enables people and organisations to thrive. Our 2024 OD Conference will take place on 24-25 October at Roffey Park Institute and we’re finalising the details of an exciting programme which includes.

  • International keynote speakers
  • Practical workshops
  • Space and time for learning and networking with practising OD professionals
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