From six bungalows for 35 people in Sussex, to a national charity supporting over 600 people a year, The Disabilities Trust has an interesting story to tell. Here, we delve into our 40-year history in the first of a three-part, A to Z series.
A is for Autism. We now support 46 people with autism at our residential centres and care homes every year, giving them greater control over their lives. In 1996, we started managing Dysons Wood in Reading, a residential centre for people with autism (now called The Maples). At the time, we extended the centre to include a nearby house where three people could be supported to live independently.
B is for Bungalows. In 1980, we started with six bungalows in Burgess Hill, West Sussex. Fast forward 40 years, and we now have 11 rehabilitation centres, two independent hospitals, one post-hospital service, 17 residential care homes and 37 supported living accommodation and one school, across England, Scotland and Wales. They allow us to support adults with an acquired brain injury, complex physical or learning disabilities and people with autism to live as independently as possible.
C is for Community. We support 133 people a year with an acquired brain injury, complex physical or learning disabilities and autism through community-based support. In 1993, we began buying and renting houses where small groups of people could live together with greater independence and still get the support they need.
D is for the Department of Health. People with an acquired brain injury are receiving better care thanks to a tool that helps social workers identify what support they need. In 2013, we were commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care to develop the Brain Injury Needs Indicator (BINI) to build an accurate picture of what support people need. Released in 2015, the BINI was recommended in statutory guidance for social workers who work with people with brain injuries.
E is for Energy. Our committed staff work hard to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Their amazing skills and energy have helped thousands of people to reach their potential. In 40 years, we've grown from three founders to over 1,600 staff members.
F is for The Foundation. Our research, including brain injury and offending and brain injury and homelessness and the link between brain injury and domestic abuse has helped make a difference to those who might not be able to access our services. Set up in 2009, The Foundation has worked in over ten prisons across England and Wales. We then use our findings to enhance good practice and direct or influence policy.
G is for Gabby. Presenter Gabby Logan has been a Vice Patron of The Disabilities Trust since 2010, helping us to raise awareness of our work. Gabby, who is the daughter of retired trustee Christine Yorath, opened our first autism residential centre in Reading. Our assessment and rehabilitation centre Daniel Yorath House is named after Gabby's brother and Christine's son, who sadly died of an undetected heart condition in 1992.
H is for Hidden disability. We support 500 people with an acquired brain injury every year at our 14 specialist brain injury rehabilitation centres across England, Scotland and Wales. A brain injury is often called a “hidden disability” because those affected can show little physical signs of change. In 1992, our Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust launched at the House of Commons.
I is for Index. People who are homeless and men and women in the Criminal Justice Estate with traumatic brain injuries are being recognised as having brain injuries thanks to our assessment tool. Developed in 2012, our Brain Injury Screening Index helps professionals working in prisons, probation, community and rehabilitation to establish whether someone has a brain injury, and its level of severity.
Watch our 40-year anniversary video to understand more about how The Disabilities Trust improves lives.