Ernest Kleinwort Court (EKC) celebrated its 30th Anniversary on 4th September. EKC was the first service that The Disabilities Trust ever built. The service hosted a ceremony from 4pm – 6pm on Friday 4th September with tours of the service and a plaque unveiling by Edmund Christopher Pery, 7th Earl of Limerick, Trustee of The Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust. From 6pm onwards guests enjoyed celebrations including food and live music.

In 1979 The Disabilities Trust was founded and shortly after purchased a 3.5 acre site in Oakenfield, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, for purpose-built bungalows for disabled people and their families. Shortly after, Ernest Kleinwort Court, the Trust’s first residential service to support thirty-five people with complex and multiple physical disabilities was built in the same area. The development was substantially funded by The Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust after which the building was named. The Centre was formally opened in 1985 by HRH Diana, Princess of Wales.

Service Manager, Anita Cobb said,


I would like to thank everyone for attending and celebrating with us – particularly to our Guest of Honour Lord Limerick. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our service and the wide range of support and care we have to offer.

There are now five centres, including one in Eastbourne, for people with profound physical disabilities and The Disabilities Trust additionally supports people with acquired brain injury and well as adult and children with autism across the UK, including brain injury and autism centres in Sussex.

Ernest Kleinwort Court also demonstrated how it has benefited from the #ConnectAbility appeal – a three year fundraising campaign to raise £250,000 for assistive communications technology for Disability Lifestyles’ service users. As a result of the #ConnectAbility campaign, the service now enjoys a range of assistive technology including Eye Trackers and iPads. Service users put on a musical performance for guests using Beamz, a specially adapted interactive musical system.

Ernest Kleinwort Court supports people with a range of disabilities including cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida and arthritis, multiple sclerosis and disabilities resulting from accidents or a stroke. As well as providing physical care, the service is committed to ensuring that people have control over their lives and are treated with dignity and respect at all times.

Our focus is on maintaining and maximizing a lifestyle as well as providing physical care. We do this by providing real choice, options and giving our service users control over their lives. We believe in enhancing our Service Users independence whilst delivering cost effective outcomes in a person centred environment.

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