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Bergshyddan

1922

Bergshyddan started in 1922 in one of Taberg’s large summer villas. Over the years it has remained one step ahead, with modern facilities including its own swimming pool and independent school that were even welcomed by political opponents in the community.

The southern Swedish town of Taberg has been home to a wealth of innovative entrepreneurs in health and social care and there have been a number of care homes in the region for many years. If the nearby, equally enterprising town of Gnosjö was the home of wireworks, then Taberg was the place where people received quality care.  It was the area’s large houses combined with the healthy environment that made this place so well-suited for this type of business. The villas had been built as summer residences, primarily for wealthy families from Sweden’s west coast who came to enjoy the area’s renowned fresh air. As these families gradually moved away, the houses were left empty and were ideal for conversion into various types of care homes.

In 1922 a lady acquired a house called Bergshyddan, where she started a home for boys and men with psychological disabilities. The Nordisk Familjebok encyclopaedia of 1924 notes: “To asylums for the uneducable mentally deficient, the following has been added…Bergshyddan in Taberg, Småland”. Here, the term asylums refers to care institutions.

In 1957, after 35 years of hard work, it was time to let someone else take over Bergshyddan – and the founder passed it on to her niece Barbro. Together with husband, Lennart Gustavsson, Barbro developed Bergshyddan over a long period. It was gradually taken over by their sons Mats and Mikael before being acquired by Solhagagruppen in 2010. Today it is part of Nytida and consists of group and assisted-living homes for children and young people, as well as schools – a total of twelve facilities.

Barbro and Lennart were the ideal combination for their time: they were good at taking care of their residents, and at the same time Lennart loved building. They increased the number of properties to keep pace with the phase-out of large dormitories to make way for accommodation designed to house fewer residents in each room. Lennart also proved he was well ahead of his time when he built a swimming pool in the early 1970s, with water heated to 38 °C.

Another noteworthy event happened when Bergshyddan applied to start up a school. It was the first and only time that all political parties in Jönköping – even those who were generally against independent schools – agreed and voted “Yes” to the establishment of an independent school. “Of course these children should be able to go to school,” was the unanimous opinion of all the politicians.