The Disabilities Trust was delighted to welcome its Patron, the Duchess of Northumberland, to its centre, Jane Percy House, in Cramlington on Thursday 22nd October. Jane Percy House is a specialist centre providing bespoke support and skills development for people with physical disabilities. The centre hosted an afternoon tea from 2pm – 3pm and the Duchess presented three members of staff with Long Service Awards.

Residents showcased the tablet computers purchased through the #ConnectAbilityappeal – a three year Trust fundraising campaign to raise £250,000 for assistive communications technology for disabled men and women in and around the charity’s five physical disability services across England. The national appeal recently reached £100,000 and everyone at the Cramlington centre has played a part in raising money. The Duchess said:

As Patron for over 11 years, I have watched The Disabilities Trust grow and develop in order to meet the needs of people with complex needs. Its mission to encourage those it supports to lead independent, fulfilling lives so that they can achieve their individual goals and aspirations is something that I fully endorse.

Jane Percy House was named after the Duchess, who opened the centre in 1997 to support 24 adults with physical disabilities. Since opening, it has continued to support disabled people to increase their independence. The Duchess said of her visit: “I very much enjoyed meeting everyone who lives and works at Jane Percy House the centre and hearing about the positive impact that communications technology is having on their lives."

The Disabilities Trust’s Chief Executive, Irene Sobowale said, “We were delighted to welcome Her Grace to present three members of staff with a Long Service Award, for twenty years of service with the Trust. The Duchess has been a wonderful support to the service, since its opening in 1997 and this visit means a great deal to the staff and residents alike.”

As well as five centres for people with complex physical disabilities, The Disabilities Trust additionally supports people with acquired brain injury and well as adult and children with autism across the UK.

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