Char­ac­ter and motivation

Manuela Schenkel de­vel­ops a unique concept in­spired by her grand­mother, Hedwig Schenkel.

Pro­file Manuela Schenkel

Lächelnde Manuela Schenkel mit herunter gezogener Sonnebrille
Founder of the Hedwig-Schenkel-Haus
Ältere Aufnahme von Manuela (links) und Hedwig Schenkel am Wohnzimmertisch
Grand­daugh­ter and grandmother

Manuela Schenkel ex­udes an air of calm but is mo­tiv­ated by an un­quench­able long­ing for ad­ven­ture. This led her to spend nine months on the Carib­bean is­land of Mar­ti­nique in her uni­ver­sity days. Now she plans to ‘bring about some­thing spe­cial’ through the cre­ation of the Hedwig-Schenkel-Haus, a res­id­en­tial pro­ject for Ger­man-speak­ing people aged 60 plus.

Manuela un­der­stands the im­port­ance of ef­fi­ciency in her res­id­en­tial pro­ject and her role as gen­eral man­ager for UK Dies Group, a Brit­ish man­u­fac­turer for the auto­mot­ive in­dustry. On a per­sonal level, Manuela is not mo­tiv­ated by money. But hav­ing com­pleted a master’s de­gree in In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness Man­age­ment with lan­guages, she un­der­stands bal­ance sheets. Manuela’s ad­ven­tur­ous spirit led her to Eng­land in 1994, where she ini­tially worked in a care home help­ing people with de­men­tia, be­fore run­ning a fam­ily busi­ness for 20 years.

Born in 1971 in south­west­ern Ger­many, Manuela grew up with sev­eral gen­er­a­tions under one roof. Even as a child, she ap­pre­ci­ated the col­lec­ted life ex­per­i­ences of the Schenkel house­hold. She was gif­ted a great love of nature and read­ing by her grand­mother, Hedwig. ‘My dad's mum paved the way for my spir­itual de­vel­op­ment and taught me the value of true tol­er­ance’, ex­plains Manuela.

Dur­ing a sab­bat­ical year, she worked for a char­ity, help­ing eld­erly people through ex­er­cising to music and im­prov­ing cog­nit­ive re­sponse. Manuela keeps her own mind and body sound through prac­tising yoga. She has com­pleted her in­ter­na­tion­ally ap­proved 200-hour yoga teacher train­ing and en­joys teach­ing both the ex­er­cise and the med­it­a­tion tech­niques. Last but not least, as a vo­lun­teer for the Marie Curie char­ity, Manuela vis­its ter­min­ally ill pa­tients at home or in the hos­pice. Spe­cial train­ing courses mean she is adept at hand­ling wheel­chairs and can give spe­cial­ist mas­sages in palliative care.

Find out more about Manuela on her LinkedIn page

Se­lec­tion of certificates

Zertifikat vom Royal Voluntary Service
Chair-based Ex­er­cise for Frailer Older Adults Training
Zertifikat von yogahaven
200 Hour Yoga Teacher
Zertifikat vom Royal Voluntary Service
Un­der­stand­ing Dementia

Hedwig-Schenkel-Haus News­let­ter

Pro­file Hedwig Schenkel (1910–2000)

Hedwig Schenkel an ein Geländer gelehnt
Zest for life
Manuela Schenkel als Kind mit roter Jacke an der Hand ihrer Großmutter
Child­hood memories

The Hedwig-Schenkel-Haus is based on the ideals of its name giver. ‘My grand­mother had an ir­re­press­ible zest for life, pur­su­ing her goals and per­sonal growth with a pas­sion’, re­calls Manuela Schenkel who wants to fight against inner empti­ness: ‘I ad­mire my grandma for her vic­tor­ies over loneli­ness. Whenever she stumbled over an obstacle, she would al­ways get up again’.

The daugh­ter of a for­ester moved to Og­ger­sheim in Lud­wig­shafen upon Rhine after she got mar­ried to Karl in 1935. ‘Mum loved walk­ing in nature’, says son Wolfgang, ‘but my father had little time for this’. In their later years, Karl watched as his wife sat under her fa­vour­ite trees, paint­ing the sur­round­ing scenery. For many years, Hedwig worked as a primary school teacher. Whilst her lib­rar­ian hus­band taught their four chil­dren an­cient Greek and furthered their aca­demic edu­ca­tion, rais­ing them was left to Hedwig. ‘Grandma did all the prac­tical stuff’, re­counts Manuela: ‘She star­ted up the wood stoves in the morn­ing, did all the house­hold chores and held down a full-time job. And still found time to get her driver's licence’.

My grand­par­ents were vo­ra­cious read­ers, real book­worms’, Manuela re­calls fondly: ’With grandma, we were al­ways doing some­thing – read­ing, arts and crafts, paint­ing, play­ing music, or en­joy­ing our pup­pet theatre’. Hedwig was a great facili­ta­tor. Once, she man­aged to slide a grand­father clock through the sun­roof of Wolfgang's VW Beetle. Fol­low­ing a dar­ing trans­port to school, she used it to teach her pu­pils how to tell the time hands-on.

Karl passed away in 1987. Des­pite her loss, Hedwig still lived with great gusto, vis­it­ing friends and pur­su­ing her hob­bies. In the eighties, she suffered a sud­den hear­ing loss, but this didn't stop her from play­ing her be­loved piano. When her hear­ing waned fur­ther fol­low­ing a stroke, her only means of com­mu­nic­a­tion was a note­pad that she car­ried at all times, lim­it­ing her con­tact with the out­side world. After a second stroke, Hedwig taught her­self to paint with her left hand. She re­mained fas­cin­ated with art, philo­sophy, re­li­gion and cur­rent af­fairs right through to her final days. When she passed away shortly be­fore her 90th birth­day, she lived on as Manuela's role model: ‘Her eyes were beam­ing until the end’.


Stichwörter Sammlung von Manuela Schenkel
Stichwörter Sammlung von Manuela Schenkel
Stichwörter Sammlung von Manuela Schenkel

The concept of the Hedwig-Schenkel-Haus was born in 2017, as Manuela Schenkel gathered ideas on her col­our­ful vis­ion board. This pro­cess helped to brain­storm thoughts, and to nail down keywords be­fore they could van­ish again.

The driv­ing force be­hind the idea was the urge for free­dom, and a de­sire for com­munity spirit coupled with spir­itu­al­ity. Hap­pi­ness, health and mu­tual re­spect are the hall­marks of life here. Our aes­thetic stand­ards aim to re­store bal­ance, form and har­mony. Our res­id­ents seek in­di­vidu­al­ity and in­de­pend­ence, whilst van­quish­ing isol­a­tion or ma­ter­i­al­ism. The Hedwig-Schenkel-Haus is not in­ten­ded to be a pen­sion­ers' para­dise. The res­ol­u­tion of con­flicts is part of life. But here, open-minded people who re­spect our values will have the chance to pur­sue what they de­sire in a com­munity of like-minded fellows.

Hedwig-Schenkel-Haus News­let­ter